I have an addiction. To supermarkets. It’s so bad that the Southerner forces me to make a plan with him if we grocery shop together: exactly what we’re going to buy, how long we’re going to be in there, and what each of us will specifically be in charge of getting. Sometimes I send him over to the video store first so that I’ll have an extra few minutes to myself. Like an addict left alone with the crack pipe.
Unless I’m forced to focus, the minute I step foot in the supermarket I go into what the Southerner calls “paralysis mode” or “apoplectic shock.” My mouth hangs open and my breathing takes on a zen-yoga quality, as I carefully scrutinize every item in the store. My uncontrollable need to look at and touch EVERY product is so bad that at our local grocery store I can tell you when a new brand of chips has been introduced in the chip aisle or the exact fat content of the twenty different kinds of cheeses in the dairy section. How am I supposed to choose one type of shortbread cookie to eat with my afternoon tea when there are twenty different brands in the aisle and they all have different ingredients and nutritional value? It could seriously take me all night. The variety is tantalizing.
If I do manage to get myself stuck gazing at some particular object in an aisle with a small sliver of drool hanging down the corner of my mouth, the Southerner yells out to me to “move my paralysis somewhere else,” (usually over to the beer aisle with him where he can keep a firm grip on my arm and keep me moving) and momentarily breaks the spell.
The only other time I manage to focus long enough to form coherent sentences comes during the check-out process. I HATE plastic bags. Plastic bags are the spawn of the devil and they tend to accumulate faster than Sarah Palin has children. When plastic bags spill out of someone’s cabinet door, I shudder with disgust and politely look somewhere else until they’re put away again. Given the intensity of my hatred, I usually bring my own canvas bags with me to the store. Sometimes the check-out man or woman doesn’t notice them and starts to reach for the plastic. Shudder, shudder, shudder. I’ve actually blurted out, No don’t! I hate those things. They’re worse than microwaves and people who use hand sanitizer. Weird looks. Occasionally, I forget my canvas bags and just ask that my items be placed directly in the shopping cart. I’ll just throw them in the car. Anthing’s better than in one of those so-called b-a-g-s. Weirder looks.