I hadda go to the bloody buggery Walmart because my daughter asked for a Lalaloopsy birthday cake, and they carry the kits. I really try not to go to the bloody buggery Walmart, but they make up for certain products my other grocers lack.
I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I feel like I’m always at the store because we’re always out of something. If you’re not like me then you dunno. You just bought groceries for the weekend, but when you go to refill the cat box, you discover the litter container is empty. Empty containers (cause kids) are the household shopper’s worst enemy, because it looks like we have crackers, tea, and tampons BUT WE DON’T. Today you spent $111 at Meijer, but tonight your kid needs posterboard and pipe cleaners? Super. It’s great I bought coffee, but we only have two filters left.
It’s a running joke (at my expense) at our house.
I’m not getting better with age.
I’ve never liked shopping. I recall a time when my shopping list was a Post-It with like cat food, Coke, pears, yogurt, and Kleenex on it. Now it’s an entire sheet of paper, with items in sections.
Having anxiety disorder means I don’t do well in bright, loud, crowded places and thus I hate shopping even more than ever. I consider shopping work. Gardening and painting trim are fun, shopping is a bitch. Shopping for anything but books, anyway.
Sometimes, The Mister goes out to collect my forgotten items, or if he’s feeling especially generous, he’ll take the entire list. Sometimes he takes a daughter or two along. If he goes out alone, then I must wait by the phone like The Shopping Dispatcher.
“Where are the artichoke hearts?”
“They have maple, original, sage, and Italian.”
“Do you want shredded wheat in individual bags or a box of frosted ones?”
He’s come a long way from thinking leeks are giant green onions.
The baking aisle is his nemesis. There are a lot of different flours. Have you ever tried explaining to someone why yes, you have bread flour, and biscuit flour, and cake flour, but you still need all-purpose flour?
Bit like asking me to pick up motor oil, I suppose. I’m aware we can’t run the vehicles with sunflower oil, but I have no idea what kind of motor oil to buy.
Now, if I know he’s going to be the one shopping before I make the list, then it’s better because I can write very specific detailed lists, or show him a photo, or discuss my caulk preferences ad nauseam.
So anyway, I was at the bloody buggery Walmart and because I was already there, I decided to get groceries. Without a list. That’s about as daring as I get. That’s my without-a-net move, right there. So, again, if you’re like me, you know this involves “Oh crap, I’ve forgotten the cream” as you head two miles to the back of the store. I did that twice. Because “Oh crap, I’m gonna need more eggs,” too. And both times, I passed the same man in the same place.
This man was stooped over his cane. He studied the list with eyes that might have seen 70 or 80 years pass.
I had to stop and help him.
“Can I help you?”
“I need beans.”
“What kinda beans?”
He held a can labeled Frijoles Blancos, “Like these right here, but with pinto beans. They usta come in a big glass jar.”
“Like for beans and cornbread?”
“Wait right here and lemme see where the big glass jar beans are. I’ll be right back.”
They’re on the bottom shelf of aisle 11.
I took him to the beans and then I swallowed the lump in my throat.
That’s gonna be my husband, y’all.
My poor husband is gonna be staring at products wondering why he can’t read the label and feeling absolutely helpless.
And who will help him?
When I got home, I urgently shared this story with my children and reminded them to always look for ways to help others.
Then I realized I forgot to buy bread crumbs, so our salmon patties will be made with panko instead. Won’t that be fun? You can’t make me go back out. Not on a Saturday.