I call this one “Trip To Grocery Store”…among other things

Writing is about observing the world around you and translating it into prose rather than homicide.


I sauntered into the store to Barry Manilow belting out “Weekend in New England”. It was the best part- where he’s all brave and daring. Most guys won’t admit that knowledge, but there’s an army of us out there.

Fetching a cart, I ran into Ms. Belly Ring chatting up a love gone wrong on her touch phone. She was speaking in code, unfortunately all swear words. Ex-boyfriend’s name was blank. His current girlfriend’s name was blankety blank. Friends? More blanks. She exhaled to wish her friend a happy birthday, and then began filling in the blanks again.

I moved to the deli counter, happy to have dislodged myself from Andrew Dice Clay’s sister. The customer in front of me was a serial sampler. Each order had specs-excruciating, laborious, evil ones. The ham had to be chipped, the turkey sliced to transparency, the swiss cut until it was no longer neutral. By the time she was finished, I’d gone vegan.

The produce section was next. I plucked a few tomatoes, a red onion, some plantains, romaine lettuce, mangoes.Then a college age girl shattered my Zen.  “What is this?” she asked, holding up a cucumber. She appeared serious. I waited for the guy from “What Would You Do?” to pop out and ask me why I didn’t lift her up onto the iceberg lettuce and have at it, with a come on like that. I moved on before she could ask me what a banana and cantelope did together.

The freezer section was gridlocked. Two carts, stacked to the rafters. I began pushing one out of my way. “THAT’S MINE!” screeched a mother of too many. I continued moving the cart until I could pass. “THAT’S MINE!” she repeated. I ignored the inference, thinking,

Yep. That’s what I do. Hit the grocery store and look around for a full cart so’s I don’t have to do any shopping for myself. Got me!

I made way for the check out where I emptied my cart only to discover that my cashier was waiting on a customer who had left the store without paying. Chocked bags littered the counter. “I don’t know what happened to her,” She replied, as if the customer had been abducted by aliens. It was clear enough that the customer in question had probably forgotten her pocketbook, excused herself and left. Clear enough, to me.

Once the crime of the century had been solved, I moved to the exit. In my approach I came upon a guy who’d decided to forego the entrance, entering the store through the exit doors. Because that’s such a cool move, you know? Because he just saved thirty seconds off his scary busy life by doing so. Because he ‘flaunts’ convention. Because he’s so cool, he gives us brain freeze. Because . . .

I got to my car, locked the door and turned on the radio.

Manilow’s I made it through the Rain.

Moral of the Story: Life does the writing for us. We just dictate.


5 thoughts on “I call this one “Trip To Grocery Store”…among other things

  1. The grocery store…last circle of hell. Especially when you get the “label reader” who takes up an entire set of shelves trying to decide which one of the 7,000 bottles of salad dressing she should pick for lowest fat content when all you need is French.

  2. Petal- Thanks. Sally Sampler deserves the credit for that line. She brought it to life. Yikes.

    Rowland- I deleted your middle comment. I left the other two comments even though they’re identical. It provides a great echo effect.

    Internet- When you run into one of those label readers, just ask them if they happened to notice the one with the highest fat content. That’s what I do.

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