I decided to hit the grocery store today at 5:30 pm. The kids were at home and I had a long shopping list ready to go. I even had meals planned for the next five days.
Yeah, I rock.
All bragging aside, my status as uber-organized mom was stripped as soon as I entered the parking lot.
Everyone else had the same idea. The place was packed.
But hey, I’ve been grocery shopping for years. For years in this same store. I write my lists in the order of the aisles! I know where everything is! I can do this and be home in time to still actually cook the meal.
Apparently someone forgot to inform the others that I was on a mission. They were not on board.
Before I even got into the store, there was a local Crazy Guy, yelling obscenities at another man who was leaving the store with a cart full of groceries. People all over the parking lot were trying to figure it all out, which caused a serious state of confusion between the walkers, the cart pushers, and the drivers. Which then threatened to mess with my plan.
I quickly pulled away from watching that train wreck because well, I was on a mission.
I went over to pick out my cart, because in
freezing cold and windy sunny California the carts are kept outside the store. I can tell the store is packed because there are only about 5 carts left out of 500. As I yank and wrestle a cart from the death-grip it has on another cart, I see a woman and her daughter waiting to get a cart behind me.
I’m feeling all charitable because for one thing, I’m not being yelled at by Crazy Guy. And I have five meals planned.
Remember, I rock.
So I smile and offer her my cart. And she smiles back, and we both feel all warm and fuzzy about our grocery store encounter. Well, it seems pretty nice compared to Crazy Guy and his yelling.
Smiley Lady and her daughter go into the store and I follow close behind. Until she stops and parks the cart right.in.front.of.me so that she and her daughter can discuss the list.
Uh, hello? She never even notices that she’s blocking the way. She doesn’t care because she got the cart and got in first. After waiting a few moments, I realized that she wasn’t budging and I had to go WAY around the massive hot soup display to get on with my shopping. I may have grunted at her, my smile fading away.
Then I manage to get into the same hunting/gathering rhythm as Crazed Corporate Lady in heels and a suit. She seems to think she’s on a mission too. I head for the whole wheat bread; she dodges and gets there first. Hot dog buns? Of course, she’s headed there as well. She cut me off on the way to wine and beer, making me change course and go for the milk.
I don’t like to get the milk first; then I have to backtrack to the wine and beer. Trust me, I have experience.
Every aisle with this woman was going to make me crazy. So I had to change up my routine and skip a few departments in order to get away from her. This completely messed up my whole list-in-the-proper-order thing.
So I headed for the pasta aisle, halfway across the store. Which is also the aisle that Smiley Lady and her daughter are now blocking.
“Excuse me,” I say in my most polite voice. OK, there was probably a bit more of an edge to it now, but I’m not meeting the objectives of my mission in a timely manner. Troops stationed at home may be in danger of a revolt.
She looked at me like I was from another planet. Like I should be just waiting for her to choose her things before I can continue down the aisle. So with way more effort than necessary, she moves her cart from the MIDDLE of the aisle so that I can get by and grab the jar of spaghetti sauce (yeah, I don’t make my own; don’t judge.)
As I wind my way through the last few aisles, there are families with hungry, cranky little kids; Big Granny driving a motorized cart who should have her license revoked since she almost wiped out the Oreo display; a mom letting her daughter who is too short to see over the cart handle actually
ram the cart into things push the cart; and a teenage couple who can’t possibly shop for food without turning it into a disgusting display of public our-hands-are-all-over-each-other-ness.
Finally I’m done. My list is nicely crossed off, my cart is full, and I head for the checkout.
And, as luck would have it, Smiley Lady gets to the checkout line right behind me. With only about 10 items to my 80.
In which case, I would normally smile and let her go ahead. She would say, “Are you sure?” and I would nod my head, earning major points for my nicey-ness.
But this time?
I just smiled. Smirked, probably.
And I’m pretty sure my dinner was on the table before hers.
All’s fair in love and food.