Have you ever noticed that the grocery store at night is a different place after 8 pm than in the daytime? It’s filled with single men buying essentials like beer, deoderant and microwaveable buffalo wings; and single women buying diet coke, nail polish remover and salad. There are also the couples — not the ones who have been married for at least five years and come to the store with a purpose — the ones who are trying to get to know each other over aisles of noodle soup and potato chips. Do you know what I’m talking about? Have you seen these couples? They are obviously trying to relate as they point out their favorite soft drinks and tell stories about how their grandma makes the best blueberry-apple strudel.
Last night, I was by myself getting a few items when I noticed a couple that was obviously grocery-dating because they were in no hurry to purchase anything. She would point out something like chocolate milk and he would stare lovingly in her eyes like she just read him a poem. Then she would rant about an expensive price and they would laugh together. This is what you do at the grocery store in the early stages of the relationship –you carry around an empty, little basket and make cute comments as you stroll down the aisles. Or you point out the cereal you ate when you were a little kid — time is of no importance because you are together.
This changes a bit if you are a mother going to the store with your kids — then, you are in a relay race. You dart through the aisles throwing items in your cart as you furiously cross things off your list, pausing only to tell the kids to stop touching everything and to calm down. Once the kids are somewhat calmed and your shopping is in a good rhythm, your daughter says as loudly as she can “I have to go poo-poos.” You look frantically for a clean bathroom with enough room so you can help her and watch your other two kids and the cart brimming full of milk, pasta and fruit. Finally, you resort to begging her to just hold it until you get home. She says she will try and you go back to the race throwing items in your cart at breathtaking speed while saying, “No, you can’t have the frosted sugary-loopy-loops. They aren’t healthy.”
As you cross the final item off of your list, and make the turn for the finish line, you notice your son about to knock over poor Mrs. Vanderlay while he scores a touchdown with a bag of egg noodles. You apologize to Mrs. V and strongly encourage your son to apologize. You once again, focus in on the goal, the coveted check-out line, which had only one person in it until the noodle-football incident. However, now people from the entire neighborhood have appeared just to get in line in front of you and your hopes of getting out of the store before going insane have been dashed. After waiting for what feels like an hour in line, while trying to explain why the girl on the magazine shaved her head, you finally give all of your money to the cashier and pack your kids into the car to drive home to cook the egg-noodles that scored the winning touchdown at the expense of Mrs. V.