I’ve decided that there is no good time to get groceries.
No matter when you go; weekends, weekdays, early in the morning, mid-afternoon, or evening, it really doesn’t seem to make much difference. And I’ve tried them all, so I know whereof I speak.
My latest foray was early in the evening on Sunday. My husband, Stij, is an avid (read that “foaming at the mouth”) Panthers fan, and a week or so ago, there was an “important” game on, so he wanted to “just do a quick shop.”
It is to laugh.
Walking into our local megamarket, we observed the cheery banner of greeting above the door, which read, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” We pried a shopping cart out of the row that had been spot welded together, and set off.
Now understand, Stij is the easiest-going person you’ll ever meet, this side of Mahatma Gandhi, but he won’t trust me to drive his truck since I told him I used to participate in Demolition Derbies. The fact that it took a great deal of skill on my part to come out of one of those things with only a couple of dented fenders left him unimpressed. All he had to hear was “Demolition Derby,” and the driver’s seat suddenly became an unattainable goal.
All this by way of saying that we do the grocery shopping together, since I am sans automobile, at the moment.
But, as I said, he’s an easy guy to be around, so I don’t mind . . .
. . . except during football season.
We’d barely stepped over the threshold of the store, and the first thing he did was check his watch. He did this twelve more times before we even got to the produce aisle, where I like to start my shopping.
“What do you want to eat this week?” I asked.
“Food,” came his helpful reply.
“For veggies, how about some green beans, carrots, and cauliflower?”
“Fine, fine, fine. Just get it and let’s get going,” he muttered, checking his watch again.
By the time we got half way through the store, the whole endeavor became less like shopping and more like fleeing from aisle to aisle. I was grabbing and tossing blindly, while he shouted at one innocent bystander after another to “move your bovine carcass out of the way!”
OK, so we made it to the bread aisle, which is the last one. Watch-checking had escalated to every other second. I was wheezing, soaked in sweat, and dangerously dehydrated. I grabbed what I I hoped wasn’t some frou-frou artisan bread made with twigs, seeds, and gravel and we rounded the bend on two wheels at 90 mph, only to be stopped dead at . . . ta da . . . the checkout lines.
The lines were seventeen deep. At the end, people were getting married, babies were being born, and old people, who were young when they got into line, were dying. There was even a house being built at the end of the queue at register three.
“#$#@#%@#$#@#$!” Stij commented. “Come on. We’re not waiting in these lines!”
“Are you proposing we embark on a life of crime?”
“No! Just leave it!”
“Patience is a virtue.”
“Yeah, and silence is golden.” This was accompanied by a look that can open coconuts at twenty paces and close mouths instantly. “Come on.”
Sighing, I abandoned our loaded card and followed him out to the truck.
Did I say, “followed?” It was more like “sprinted.” By the time I caught up, he was already driving out of the parking lot and was irked to have to slow down to forty or so, so I could jump in.
Fortunately, we don’t live too far away from the grocery store; and a good thing, too. The G-force on that short ride rivaled anything NASA could come up with, and pinned my cheeks back to my ears!
Into the house we dashed – he for the television, I for the phone, where the plastic surgeon is on speed dial.
After a brief confab with Dr. Karloff, I hung up with an appointment and yet another admonition to stay out of the truck on football nights.
I expected to hear the TV blaring when I walked out of the bedroom, but there wasn’t a sound. Fearing for the bric-a-brac, lest his sports lifeline had inexplicably given up the ghost, I ventured cautiously into the living room.
He was sitting there.
In the dark.
This was not good.
It was 8:02. “Wasn’t the game supposed to start at 8:00?” I asked.
“Yes. 8:00. Tomorrow night.”
I shook my head. Nothing is worse for a North Carolina football fan than Pantherus interruptus.
“Do you mean to tell me that I look like I just spent two hours in the front row of an Aerosmith concert for nothing?”
“Yeah, but look at the bright side. We can go back to the grocery store now, and . . .”
“Never mind. Forget I said anything.”
He spent the entire evening sulking and staring into space, but it gave me a great idea for Valentine’s Day.
I’m going to skip the lingerie.
This year, I’m really going hard-core.
I’m going to buy myself an official Panthers football jersey!