Tag Archives: Shopping

Courage at Twilight: Grocery Shopping

In the grocery store, Mom followed her prepared shopping list—penciled on a yellow legal pad—items grouped by type and store location, and if it’s not on the list she doesn’t need it, because if she needed it, it would be on the list.  Dad, listless, followed the whims of his heart and his hunger: Jarlsberg, Swiss, and Gouda, cauliflower and broccoli, fresh salmon and parmesan chicken, frozen pizzas, bags of roasted nuts.  Any why not be whimsical with foods that look beautiful and sound delicious and that one is sure to relish?  Why not enjoy both the shopping and the eating experiences?  Neither approach is inherently correct, of course; both are equally acceptable, and complementary.  Mom and Dad each pushed a sanitized dual-purpose shopping cart, for filling with food, and for leaning upon.  While Dad meandered among the fresh produce and artisan cheese, Mom and I walked to the dairy cooler via the cold cereal aisle.  A pretty middle-aged woman walking by surprised me with a generous smile.  Her sleeveless summer dress exposed significant portions of her enhanced bosom.  She passed us twice more, and each time that smile.  After the third pass, Mom hissed at me, scandalized, “That woman is flirting with you.  It’s so obvious!  And her boobs are practically falling out of her dress!”  Mom’s observations filled me with a sudden and unexpected panic, and I was in junior high again, awkward, anxious, and utterly unable to flirt.  She’s flirting with me? I thought, stupefied.  Why?  I could not understand it.  And I could not respond.  Even had I been interested, my flashback to adolescent anxiety left me perspiring and paralyzed.  Which is just as well—now is not the time or the season.  The parking lot sloped away from the grocery store, and Mom and Dad pulled back on the reins, as it were, to keep the colts from bolting.  I drove silently home, disturbed at the stirring sensations I have worked so hard to suppress.  I focused on seeing how many shopping bags I could carry into the house in one trip, and helped my providentially protective mother put the groceries away in their various nooks and crannies on the pantry.