I am coming up to the deadline of my next Ruckus column, and need to spend some time working on it, so of course, I would like to take this time to tell you a few of my thoughts on shopping at the grocery store. I was at one yesterday for about the same length of time as a major league baseball game. Or at least that’s what it felt like. Only it had far fewer pipe organ interruptions. Although, come to think of it, I could have used a few of those crowd stimulating chord progressions while perusing the cereal aisles and thumping melons. They should hire little old ladies to sit in the corner of the Publix and pound a couple of those out every ten minutes or so. BUM bum bum bum…BUM bum bum bum…Duh da da DAT da DAHHHH! CHARRRRRRGE! I’d be slinging produce in my cart like crazy if the whole store staff were cheering me with big foam fingers and rally caps. Don Draper, you can have that one for free.
Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh right. The Drudgery Store. I think one reason it takes so damn long to buy everything on my list is that I make the mistake of looking at the ingredients in stuff. SELF: IGNORANCE IS BLISS. Or at least more expedient. For example, on my list it says: turkey. Which, one might assume, is exactly how the ingredients list would read on a package of turkey. But no, of course, I do not assume. I do not make an ASS out of U and ME like other more efficient people do. I think, “Gee willikers, why don’t I just have a looksee at the backside of this here package of ‘Quick n’ Cheap Turkey-ish Bitz’ and see what we got?” And then first on the list is the phrase”turkey ingredients,” which is the first sign that I should stop reading, but of course read on I do! And then thirty minutes later I’m still standing there trying to decide which fake pumped in filler ingredient causes the most curable form of cancer so that I can just pick one and move on already.
Then I get to the Sunmaid yogurt covered raisins. Ah, the taste of childhood! There’s the young bonneted woman on the front, picking the grapes from the orchard. I imagine that soon after that harvest she must take them over to the yogurt dipping station, where she lovingly submerges each one in…well now, let’s see, what makes up that coating, let’s just look on the back here, oh here it is…titanium dioxide, and then with a kiss, seals each package and sends it down the road to the local grocer’s.
Sure, that may not be very appealing, but it is pretty handy to know that little behind the scenes factoid about those tasty nuggets, in case we’re out and about and forget our sunscreen. It’s ok, kids! Mama brought snacks, and they’re SPF 30!
Later, while choosing between applesauce jars, I instinctively went for the unsweetened version, because clearly I am a terrible, horrible, no-fun mother who only feeds her children organic salted gruel and room temperature water. (The unsweetened applesauce is for birthdays.) But (having that exact thought play through my head as I reached for the jar) I decided to check out the “Old-Fashioned” applesauce next to it, thinking maybe I had been depriving my kids of the real kind of applesauce that June Cleaver used to make for Wally and the Beav. On the back the second ingredient read: high fructose corn syrup. Ah yes, just like grandma used to make!
DNA-altering chemicals aside, there’s also always that whole grocery store dance you do with that one other person who starts out in the produce section at the same time you do and who continues to end up on the same aisle as you throughout your entire shopping experience. Awkward. The first time you cross paths you might smile and nod or something, but pretty much every time after that, you ignore them like you’ve never seen them in your life. (It’s exactly like Level 2 of this.) I almost cart-bumped my aisle-dance partner yesterday not once, but twice, meaning I had to do the whole, “Oh. Oops. Uh, let me just move ov- Yeah, I think if you just roll over that direc- Sorry, I’m a terrible cart maneuverer- Ha ha! Sorry!” two separate times. Nothing like a little blundering attempt to do simple human tasks in the snack aisle to make you dump in a metric ton of Oreos into your cart as a future salve for your social awkwardness.
First person to tell me the ingredients in the cream in those cookies is gonna get it.