Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Trip to the Grocery Store

The other night I was in the grocery store and I spotted a large yellow banner hanging over the fish department. In capital black letters were the words "SALMON SALE." "SALMON SALE?!" I thought, having no real interest in salmon but being caught up in the boldness of the sign and the urgency implied by the capital letters.

Turns out I didn't just think it. I must have said it out loud. And not with my "inside voice." Those nearby pivoted to face me as if I had just yelled, "Hey you! Over here!" A slight feeling of embarrassment caused me to shrug my shoulders and point to the sign. "Salmon," I half-whispered. "It's for sale." Awkward silence. "Right over there."

As I slinked my way along the row of wrapped meaty parts, it occurred to me that the non-stop chatter I hear in my head while at the grocery store may actually be coming out. You know. Into the ears of other shoppers. About 50 years too soon, I have become the crazy lady who talks to herself from the store entrance to the checkout lane. How could I not have realized this before?

I decided to not let my thoughts know I was onto them, but rather just listen to them the next time I went shopping at my local grocery store. I'd just kind of go about my shopping business and hear what, if anything, comes out. Maybe the salmon sign produced a surge of excitement that my normal thoughts don't do. Maybe most of the thoughts stay in. Maybe I'm a thought whisperer.

I've observed other teachers and students and know how to record just the facts. I'd probably be a pretty good police officer. Just during the "just the facts, ma'am" parts of their police officeriness. The other parts I'd suck pretty bad at, but I can take down some facts. Below are the facts as I observed them:

Wheels cart towards the produce section. Stops in front of bananas. 
"Okay.....nanners. I need some nanners. Hi, little nanner bunch. Want to go home with me? Of course you do."
Puts bunch of bananas into cart. 

 Wheels over one aisle to the croutons.
"Croutons. Croutons. Croutons. I see you whole grain croutons!" 

Wheels back towards the wall of produce.
"Yellow peeeeeper. Peeeeper. You a squooshy peeeeeeper. No, no, no. Here's one. Oh, aren't you a pretty little peeper? I cut you up, you little peeeeeper. I cut you up and put you in a- oh, look! Beets. I like it, the beets. Why you all tied together, beets? I will eat one of you and set two free."

Seems to forget about yellow peppers altogether and plops a bundle of beets into the cart. Rolls cart over to the apples.
"Foooooo-geeee. I'm gonna eat you up, fuji apples." 
Picks up an apple and squeezes it.
"Girl! You all mushy and shit! You nasty! You know you are. Don't act like you ain't."
Puts apple down. Picks up another.
"That's better. I'll take you! And you! And you!"

Puts three apples in a plastic bag, ties it up, and places in the cart. Wheels cart past the salad bar, through the liquor aisle. Thinks about the time she drank some Malibu Rum with a friend in high school and afterwards thought it might be a good idea to remove the friend's father's antique sword from the wall and run around the house with it. Remembers getting busted. Feels like her choice of not drinking is a good one. Heads past the magazines, and takes a right at the soup aisle.
"Soup. Soup-PAH. Soupy-soup-soup. Where are you zesty chicken? CHEEEEE-kin. Cheeky-cheeky-cheekin. Cheeeeekin soup-PAH. Oh, you funny soup. I see you behind your buddy. Move over buddy, I'm comin' for the cheeckin." 

Does a u-turn in the aisle. Nearly runs into another shopper. Stands on the back of her cart for the final roll

and makes it to the cereal aisle.
"Gruh-NOLA! I'm gonna get me some gruh-NOLA! Granola in the brown package. Coooome to me! Ah! I see you! You can't hide from me! Get on over here, you little sucker."

 Puts granola in the cart. Wheels down the aisle and turns left towards the dairy section.
"Small package of eggies. A lil' bitty package. Naw, naw, naw. Don't need that big ol' package of eggs. Who eats those many eggs, anyway? Where aaaaare you, little eggs? No little eggs? Okay. No eggs for me!"

Smiles at a woman who was inspecting a carton of eggs.  Heads over to the yogurt.
"I like it the vah-NEELA. Two-a-those, please. One! Two! Let's see. Dog treats. Dog treats. Dog treats. Par-DONE!"

Says, "pardon" to a woman in the yogurt aisle. Zips right over to the pet aisle.
"Someone's in the kitchen with dooooog treats. Someone's in the kitchen I knoooooooow. Someone's in the kitchen with- what the hell are these? Lil' bacon bits? Uhn. Those look nasty. Narsty. Narsty bits. No narsty bits for my dog!"

Picks up a box of dog treats and plops it into the cart. Continues down the aisle. Passes light bulbs and display of pink breast cancer awareness merchandise. 
"Light bulbs? No, don't need 'em. Buh-REST cancer pinky stuff. I see y'alls display of Buh-REST cancer stuff. No need. No needy. Sorry, cancer peeps. No needy the bag or the water bottle. Oh! Look at those fuzzy pink socks, though. I like to wear 'em, wear 'em. I like to wear 'em, wear 'em. I like to wear 'em, wear 'em. I like to....WEAR 'EM! But I don't need them. No need."

 Turns left and left again to the snack aisle.
"Get me some almonds. Comin' for you, almonds. There you are! And-uh-one. I gots ya, almonds. I gots your almond backs. Your little almond backs."

Makes a u-turn and left again in the frozen foods aisle.
"Okay....veggies for the stir fry. Gon' stir it up. Steer it up! Little darlin', steer it up! Schteer. Shhhhteer. Shtir-fry. I said shtir fry. I like me the water chestnuts, oh yes, I do. I'm gonna crunch you up, little crunchy watery disks of goodness. Come to me!"

Catches the glance of a fellow shopper who appears to be staring at her in an odd way.

"Got some veggies," she announces to the shopper. "For some stir fry." 
The shopper nods her head slowly and back her cart up a few inches.
"Stir fry and veggies," she continues. "Veg-uh-tuh-buhls."

Another u-turn and she's headed towards the check-out, past the magazines and candy.
"Okay. To the check out. Hello, Demi Moore! I see you. I see you, gum. Don't need it.  Don't need your gum. Don't need your fuzzy socks. Gummy socks. Socksy gum. Gummy-"

She's interrupted by the cashier who says, "Hello, ma'am, and how are you today?"

"Pretty good," she replies, piling her items on the conveyer belt. She refrains from saying "Pri-TEE, pri-TEE, pri-TEE, pri-TEE, pri-TEE good," ala Curb Your Enthusiasm, because, let's face it. That would be weird and she wouldn't want the cashier to look at her in a funny way.  That would be embarrassing.