PART 2: Supermarket
I struggle with tasks that I must participate in, in order to function as a respected adult, that is. I know, I know…we all feel that way when stress and the atrophy of time plagues us. I know I am not alone in feeling like I cannot keep up with the errands and appointments or making sure the smoke detectors have new batteries so that the ear-splitting, incessant beeping doesn’t push me to completely lose it in the middle of the night. But you see, with me…it is beyond a 9-volt or managing to get to the dentist twice a year.
I know I have mentioned the Battle of the Mail before, but let me try and really explain it, so the depth of the problem is apparent. So, even if I manage to bring all the mail into the house in a timely manner, and then muddle up the courage to give myself a pep talk so that I actually open the mail…then I have to succinctly read it. Here is where is gets cumbersome: I have to decide what to keep, what to toss, and where to organize it afterwards so that I can retrieve it as needed.
I know you are wondering…
Yes. I have purchased all the bins and file cabinets and organizational tools that the world has to offer to assist with issues like these. But I still manage to struggle to get the papers organized into these constructs. And that is only half of the journey–what do I do with all of the information that the other humans send me via the post? It often leads to phone calls or the excruciating obligation to pay someone an inordinate amount of money that I do not have. Do I keep the envelope that they so kindly provide within the envelope? Or, for example, I must decide if I hang the overabundance of photoed holiday cards that people send out, even if I haven’t seen them, or their smiling children, for years.
All the mail. All the problems.
One of the tasks I do not typically struggle with is the supermarket. I fucking adore going to the supermarket. There is something cathartic to me about traipsing up and down the aisles, filling my cart until it is brimming with all the comforting and life-sustaining materials that I desire. I often fantasize about going to the supermarket with someone I am head over heels in love with, my idea of a lovely and enjoyable Sunday afternoon. Oh, I don’t know…us not caring if it takes twenty minutes or three hours, because we are living in the present, basking in each other’s company, unconcerned with whether or not we forgot an item three aisles back because it doesn’t matter where we are–we have the absolute fucking best time no matter the place. Maybe we steal a kiss in the international aisle or laugh hysterically at the word “hosiery” and playfully debate why this was a word selected to be spotlighted on this aisle sign. Or maybe, just maybe, I would look up at him as he helps me unpack the cart and our eyes meet, and above all else, I know it just feels right.
A girl can dream.
The supermarket this afternoon is pleasant and comforting, but I am unfamiliar with where all of the things are located in this particular store, since it is not where I usually go. You know, the place where I could even locate the most obscure items with ease, like tofu or squid ink pasta. I am now desperately looking for olive oil, but I am in fact struggling. It doesn’t appear to be in the places that make logical sense to my brain, like the pasta aisle or chillin’ with the condiments. But I need it. So here I am again scouring the pasta aisle, because it just has to be here. I am most definitely talking to myself and pirouetting past the carts, when I see an attractive guy slowly approaching. And he has this smirk on–he saw me awkwardly trying to function among the linguine and high fiber penne. How embarrassing. Of course he stops next to me. Of course I don’t know how to act.
Of course, of course, of course.
So what in the ever living fuck do I decide to do? I blurt out, “Clearly, I can’t get it together.” I could have done or said a shit ton of other things. I could have just pretended he was not (did I use the word attractive before?) one of the hottest people I have ever seen meandering around a supermarket on a Sunday. But, this was my attempt at an interaction. Does he say anything? No. He says nothing, but he gives me this look. He gives those eyes that instantly conjures saliva to pool on the crook of my tongue. Then, of course, I spot the fucking olive oil and (of course) we both happen to reach up at the shelf at the same damn time. His hand skims my arm. Now what? Now I am craving all the touching, because, let me tell you, it has been a while.
He finally speaks: “You seem to have it pretty together from where I am standing,” and rolls his cart away. I, again, have no idea what to do and actually do nothing this time. I can’t help but hope we will rendezvous in another aisle.
Yes, the supermarket. I don’t particularly mind going food shopping. Shit. I much rather be at home on my ass watching football on a Sunday, keeping dibs on my picks in the fantasy football leagues I got sucked into with my buddies this season. But if I didn’t drag my ass out the door, I would have been absolutely fucked later. I wouldn’t have the snacks I want and my girl would endlessly remind me that I am a lazy shit that couldn’t just leave football and spend some “quality time” with her at the store. She would have nagged me over and over and over again. No fucking way. So here I am.
Sunday afternoons in season seem to be the time where I can deal with the supermarket and not want to shoves carts down the aisle. The less people the better. I can blow this popsicle stand and get back to my spot on the couch. I work hard all week and fucking deserve a day to kick my feet up and crack a beer.
Dude. Fucking A. Here it goes. We were ready to check out, but I forgot to grab the damn olive oil that she so desperately needs to make some pesto or some shit. It will probably end up as a thick, barely edible paste. I know that is fucking mean. I don’t want to be a douche. I can’t help it sometimes.
I know she tries. I know I try. But I just…I don’t know. I don’t know how I ended up here. She is great, but I just feel checked out. I guess I had this fantasy about how moving in would play out. I feel smothered and tied down..
I finally make it to the aisle where the olive oil is, and I see this cute chick looking confused as fuck, pacing and definitely talking to herself. I haven’t felt this amped in a while.
I think, this…this could be fun.
And it turns out to be a fucking blast. I forgot how fun flirting with a cute chick with a nice ass can be. Just what I needed right about now. And Bro, this is going to be easy. You can just smell that she wants the attention. I mean, who doesn’t want some of this? It feels fucking great to throw on my charm and entertain myself. I hear her say something about how she cannot get her shit together or some bullshit, which I find adorable. A lost kitten. I already spot the freaking olive oil that my girl told me endless times that I need to pick up. I see the exact size and label and specific olive grove it is fucking from. That I was reminded about a thousand fucking times.
I see the girl reach out for what she’s been blubbering to herself about, as I reach for the bottle I need. I don’t have to reach for it right now, ha. But I do because why the fuck not? This is the shit. I want to have fun with the hot, frazzled chick in aisle 6. So I do. Fuck it. My hand briefly touches her arm, and I see her blush. I am in. Oh, the things I would do.
I grab the bottle, toss it in the cart. Then I give her one last smirk, and head to find my girl.
Ok. I am soooo ready to go. I am proud of myself for actually getting out of the house at a decent time today and still have much of the day left to decide its fate. I cannot wait to cook and spend time around the house–often I forget to appreciate the simple times at home.
But, of course…
I keep thinking about the bizarre interaction (flirtation?) with the hot guy. Am I craving attention that badly or could it maybe mean something more? It seemed like a spark, or at the very least, a mutual attraction. Am I reading too into things? I mean, he was definitely flirting. Definitely. But what does that even matter? Do I expect to see him again? Go on a date? I probably won’t even see him again in this store. I don’t even know his name. All of these thoughts are ludicrous, and yet I can’t help but frollic down that path. Why am I the way I am? Why do allow myself to think something is more than a momentary interaction?
And I do see him again as I pick a line to check out. And I see him see me…and then I see him pretend he has not seen me. Because now it all makes sense. Well, nothing makes sense at all, but at least some of my questions are answers.
I start to unpack my cart as his girl clutches his arm and they walk out of the store together.
Concept + Artwork By: Erica Lescota – @phoenix_designs37
Concept Development + Text By: Lanaya Alexander – @writing.for.the.calm
Note: This is a work of fiction. Any references to real events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, events, and places are results of the artist and author’s imagination. Anything that resembles actual places, people, or events is entirely coincidental.