Today I went grocery shopping. For the first time in three years, I looked at myself in the mirror before heading to the store. Wal-Mart workers have seen me in every state of disrepair, rarely ever with makeup on, and only in the most unusual of occasions in something other than the most comfortable clothes I own. My hair? I don’t even want to mention how horrible my hair has looked on these outings.

But today, it occurred to me that I may actually run into an acquaintance. How I’ve managed to live in a city for three years and not ever feel more than totally anonymous at the local Wal-Mart is beyond me. Though I am still largely ignore-able (as long as I’m not pushing a crazy cart), I shocked myself by my willingness to put on makeup for the sole purpose of going to the store. Guess I care what people think of me afterall!

Of course, I didn’t run into anyone I knew at all – but the first time I try to slide by in my around-the-house clothes, no makeup and wonky hair, I know I’ll run into someone. And it will be embarrassing.

Also, since when did I start looking over forty? I want to be carded when I buy wine, people! You insult me! My sister (who is only four years my junior) is still getting carded for rated R movies. Not. Fair.

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(Note: I really hate the title I gave this post. Really. But I’m taking a break from filing taxes and I’m just…not in a good frame of mind.)

So I’ve determined that I really do enjoy grocery shopping. It’s nice. I get to spend money and not feel terribly guilty about it, which is always a plus. It gets me out of the house, which I often need a big incentive (like starving) to accomplish. I’m a homebody. But the grocery store is a place of peace for me.

However, there is one thing that can completely ruin a trip to the grocery store: a bad buggy. You know what I’m talking about. You roll the buggy at a normal clip and it sounds as if you are discharging an automatic firearm inside the store. Generally this is caused by gum stuck to the bottom of one of the wheels, or a “flat” wheel, or some other defect involving one (or more) of the wheels. In the grocery store I frequent, the entrance where the buggies are kept has a textured floor (I’m convinced they do this for the specific purpose of making it impossible to tell if you have a screwed up buggy) so I’m already inside the store before I realize I’ve obtained a crappy cart. Turning around is still an option, but with the luck I’ve had in this regard, the next buggy I pick up will probably be screwed up worse. So I just push forward.

Interestingly, it usually happens that I’m the only one of the sixty people crawling the store who happens to have picked up a machine-gun-buggy and I’m convinced people stare and make faces in my general direction for being so obnoxious. So I make efforts to lessen the noise. I lift the handle on the side of the defunct wheel so that the crashing noises are slightly dampened (but rarely silenced). This only works until I start to fill up the buggy with grocery items, then I try pushing down on the handle to see if that affects any change. Nope, only makes things significantly worse. People turn their heads to stare. I blush. And now it really is too late to switch buggies. Not to mention the fact that my entire experience is overwhelmed by the offensive noises emanating from my cart every time I push forward. I slow down.

BANG.
BANG.
BANG.

More like a handgun being fired now. Honestly if I had one handy, suicide wouldn’t be out of the question. Inevitably, I forget something and have to crash back through the store, avoiding nasty looks and jeers from my fellow shoppers. I arrange my hair in front of my face and duck my head. Realize this makes me look suspiciously like a disgruntled former employee toting a firearm and straighten back up.

I adopt a very apologetic expression on my trip back through the store and sigh in relief as I find a relatively short check-out line. Wonder idly if the noise of the buggy will be better or worse as I trek through the parking lot.

Find that it is crashingly worse on pavement but better in regard to distance travelled and lack of echo.

When I finally make it to the buggy disposal area nearest my car in the parking lot, I give the old piece of…junk… an overly enthusiastic shove and hope the resulting damage as it crashes into the cart in front of it is enough to retire the thing for good. Sadly, I realize I’ve probably only managed to further maim my own buggy and damage the one in front of it to boot. FML.

(Note: the FML is as much for the buggy-situation as it is for my current indebtedness to the effing federal government. Fair Tax, people!!!)

Picture this:

December 24th, 9 am.

You and your spouse are enjoying a relaxing morning together when you remind him that the two of you  need to go out and purchase gifts for your nieces (6 and 3, adorable little girls, really). ‘What are we giving them?’ he asks. A reasonable question.

‘Well,’ you say, ‘I’ve got a ton of books in the back of my car that are appropriate for little ones, why don’t we just give them some of those?’ You run a brush through your wildly wavy hair and wish you’d taken the time to blow it dry after your shower. Oh well.

Hubby seems amenable to this plan. Of course he is, this requires 1) no shopping and 2) no money. Then he asks the fateful question. ‘Have you wrapped everything else?’

Everything else?  ‘What else would I be wrapping?’

‘You know, presents? For everyone?’

Hmmmm. Yes, that does sound familiar… Gifts on Christmas rings a certain bell… Only you were thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to just give the girls a gift each and not spend any of the piles of money you don’t currently have on gifts for anyone else. Oops. ‘No, honey, I thought we were just getting gifts for the girls? Didn’t we talk about this?’

Only of course, we hadn’t. Many of the conversations I imagine I’ve had with Hubby take place only in my head. Christmas gifting was one of those subjects I do quite wish I’d discussed with him for real though, because he clearly had an entirely different picture of things than I did. Praise the Lord, I have a job that leaves me with multitudes of samples that become perfectly useless to my work after a period of time and I had a bunch of that stuff in my trunk at the time. Family, I do hope you enjoy your gifts and aren’t offended that we shopped for them out of my trunk. I promise if I had money, I’d lavish you with the most expensive gifts money could buy. Let me rephrase that: WHEN I have money, I WILL lavish you with expensive gifts. And I’ll shop for them in real stores. I promise.

The next problem came when Hubby asked what we were getting one another for Christmas. And the entire process started over… Christmas can be so complicated! It’s no small wonder I’ve taken a month off of posting! Who has time to write when they are last-minute shopping from their own vehicles?