grocery shop

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okay, I can’t stand it any longer. Lets talk about the grocery store.

I’ve just recently (in October) moved back to Alexandria/Pineville and was really bummed to leave the days of shopping at my beloved Rouse’s behind. I loved that so many of the products were local, special to the area. There’s something about shopping at a Louisiana owned and operated store that just makes my little southern heart sing. I don’t know why, but it does.

I really made a whole event out of food shopping days, unless I had company (which was rare.) I found myself there usually on Wednesdays, either before work, which wasn’t until 4 (sometimes I miss bartender life for this reason) or on whatever day I’d have off. It almost ALWAYS rained on days I picked to go grocery shopping, which meant my grey hoodie, which I’ve had since forever. Yes, that long. Yoga was first on the agenda, to steady my nerves for the dumbassery that was sure to happen during my trip to the store, either on my own account or someone else’s. Coffee was a given – I’d zip through the Starbucks line, order a classic style iced triple-espresso with one pump of white chocolate syrup – to die for. ** I’d pull in to the same exact parking spot at Rouse’s every single time and fish my headphones out of my purse while walking in. “Today is the day…my date to myself. This is bliss!” I know, I know. What a highlight?! SOLO GROCERY SHOPPING! I’m so cool.

Note: I realize this may sound incredibly neurotic, and I know I’ve mentioned this odd habit before, but I didn’t really appreciate the sanctity that is solo grocery shopping until recently.

After untangling my headphones from my hairbrush (because at the time it was necessary for me to carry one of those in my purse) I’d plug-in to whatever songs I’d just purchased and start on the health food aisle, feeding my inner granola girl both physically and metaphorically. I’d browse, picking up everything I hadn’t looked at before, reading every label and making little notes in my phone to Google products I was interested in. I would meander through every aisle, letting my imagination run wild with recipes for possible cocktail party snacks and perfect dinners for friends until I hit the part of the store where it turns in to toilet paper and other paper products.

Note: these items are necessary for a successful cocktail party.

As soon as I got to this part of the store, I’d make the loop and start at produce, also noting fruits and veggies I wanted to try, making a note to find, “108 Amazing Things to do with Butternut Squash,” or, “76 Ways Kale Will Change Your Life,” articles on Pinterest. (it should be pointed out that these articles exist in some form or fashion.) I would save the bakery and dairy for last, mostly because I struggle saying no to those perfect half-apple or peach pies. Why wouldn’t you want to buy just half of a peach or apple pie, when no one else in your house likes pie? Guilt free pie-eating right there, even though I almost always convinced myself that I needed coconut water instead. (though it never quite satisfies my sweet-tooth the way I wish it would.)

Note: My hips greatly appreciate this victory over perfect pie to this very day.

I’d make it all the way to the check out, only to realize that I’d completely checked out and missed half of the items on my list. So then, I’d switch over to my workout playlist and zoom through the store like a champ, since I’d obviously already looked at everything. At this point, after all the right stuff was finally in the basket, I’d make a little detour at the wine, dreaming of the day that I could shamelessly buy bottles and bottles and bottles of La Crema without batting an eyelash, but opting for Naked Grape or Cupcake because both brands are relatively inexpensive and taste okay, especially after the first bottle.

By this time, I’ve been in the store for over an hour, maybe close to two. The employees that I’ve been circling are now starting to look at me with odd expressions, wondering if I’ll ever leave or check out. I make my way to the check out, tossing a peppermint patty on the belt because hey, I’ve earned it. My favorite part is definitely when, the inevitable happens. “Oh wow, I didn’t know we carried this, what’s it for?” The lady (same one, Gladys, almost always) would ask me about some coconut product I’d read about or a new coffee creamer. I got tickled at this because it didn’t matter if I was just in the store buying random shit because I was bored and wanted to get out of the house or if I was making my normal shopping trip for my usual items, she felt the need to say something about one of my items, like it was a personal compliment or something.

“Oh these are excellent grapes. I bet you have a nice bowl to put them in.”

“That milk is soooooo good, that must be why your complexion is so nice.” – wait what?

“We carry organic, soy bubble bath here? Well what does that do?” – explaining a bubble bath to the grocery lady was probably one of the highlights.

I miss Rouse’s so much. No one recognized me there, no one stopped me to ask how I was doing, “what with the divorce and all,” or to ask about my mom and, “what’s going on with her?” Now I just mad dash in to Kroger or one of the new Neighborhood Markets that Wal-Mart so graciously placed in two of the most awkward locations possible, hoping no one speaks to me or stops me, judging me by the items in my basket and the fact that I have on no makeup. The second I step in to the grocery now, it’s all I can do to grab everything and just get home, eat my kale-butternut squash whatever and watch reruns of Golden Girls.

Solo grocery shopping will never be the same. Saddest day in the world.

and now…because I can’t get this amazing song out of my head:

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