Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Supermarkets, Seniors, Sort of Random Observation

I spend a lot of time, at least three hours a week, inside supermarkets. It's the closest thing I have to a community: I know when the cashier's baby is due, say hello to the butcher, and know which days to avoid senior discount. I don't have anything against seniors, it's just that they take 47 minutes to pick out bananas because they confuse standing in a spot with having bought deeded real estate.

Anyway, it scares me a little that I know so much about the people in the supermarket. But I console myself with the fact that I cook a lot, and there are usually about half a dozen people at the dinner table. Plus, I need things like Milkbones and laundry detergent.

Usually, I go during the day with one or two of the kids. But last night, I decided to do night shopping. The kids had a ton of homework, and after plowing through a lot of it, everyone went to their separate corner of the universe and I had a free hour. Well, sort of free. I probably should have folded wash or dusted or done something normal, but that's just not me, so after I cleaned up my daughter's art project (fairy feathers and glitter glue) I decided to sneak out of the house and get the shopping done. Here are the random observations from this expedition:

1. Even though people claim my family is from Viking stock, I cannot navigate by the stars. In fact, I make a left by the "haunted house" off Route 9 to get to the store, and at night, you can't see an abandoned house because it has no electricity. I drove right past the turn off. (400 years ago my descendants wanted to reach the balmy shores of China and ended up ice farming in Greenland)

2. The day people are far less creepy than the night people in the grocery store. The night crew kept playing weird songs like Ruby Tuesday followed by the theme from Rocky which was jarring. It was like musical selections from the rehab center.

3. Really, really old people wearing a BlueTooth scare me. This lady was easily 88 - easily - sort of stooped over and she had a BlueTooth in her ear at 9:30 at night. Who would be calling her? She moved with the speed of sleep, so I can't imagine she was vital to the functioning of anything, especially at 9:30 pm on a Tuesday. So why couldn't I stop looking at her? I kept wondering if it was a Christmas present from a well meaning grandchild that she had confused with jewelry.

4. Meat looks alive after 8 pm. I couldn't go near the meat case. (This is partially due to the fact that my daughter won't eat food "that ever walked or swam" and that phrase came back to haunt). Also, the guy holding the large, sharp butcher knife reminded me of Charles Manson. Bad combination.

5. It didn't occur to me until I was almost home that other people in the store might be looking at me and wondering what I was doing in the store. That was particularly important as when I got home, I discovered I had shopped the entire time with a glittery fairy feather dangling from the back of my jacket.


Carrie Harris said...

I tend to hum when I'm in the grocery store, which always gets me odd looks. Well, that and the fact that one of my twins kept yelling, "Nookie! Nookie!" the last time we were there.

It's toddlerspeak for "milk."

Marcia said...

Well, yeah, but it's also malespeak for . . . you know.

I used to forget and push the cart back and forth like a pram after the kids were past the age of sitting in it.

Now, mostly my DH goes to the store. So on the rare occasions I do go, I find they've changed the shelves all around and I'm lost.

Anne Spollen said...

Well, Carrie, if it rhymes with cookie, it's usually headed for their vocab receptors.

Of course, there are people like me who might think you and your husband run around the house yelling that word all day and that's where the tots picked it up, but I can't imagine there are too many people who think like me.

And Marcia, when my DH goes to the store, he comes back with WD40, a head of lettuce and Brillo. I kid you not: that's what he came out with last time. And he has this expression like he's walking on the surface of Mars when he's in there.

He does a lot better at Home Depot where I go into a trance.

Carrie Harris said...

All I have to say, Anne, is that you're my kind of people.

Mary Witzl said...

Love that ending -- I do stuff like this all the time!

You are right that people shopping at night look weirder than daytime shoppers. Even normal people tend to look weird shopping at night; I think it's the lights. And yes, the meat looks particularly nausea-inducing.

I'm guessing that little old lady with bluetooth might have been given it by anxious family members. I feel a little sympathetic; I do that slow thing with bananas myself.

Anne Spollen said...

I know, I felt sort of sorry for her, but it was still such an incongruent sight. They probably told her to wear it whenever she went out (like a Life Alert thing), but to take it a step further, why was she shopping so l ate at night and by herself?