I had to go grocery shopping today. It’s not exactly my favourite activity, since I don’t really enjoy cooking all that much, but since I do like to eat, I have to do it. But to be perfectly honest, once I’ve made my list, gathered up my bags (I’ve been reusing the same plastic liquor store bags for probably five years now), gotten into the car, arrived at the grocery store’s carpark, deposited my money to unleash a buggy and actually arrived IN the store itself, it’s really not so bad. There’s something quite soothing about wandering up and down the aisle, humming along to the Musak and checking off items from my list as I toss them into my cart. Not much brain work involved other than deciding which of the ten different varieties of apples offered I should purchase (the variety on sale, obviously!).
And the people-watching is amazing. Tonight there were a couple of British lads cruising up and down the aisles at about the same speed as I was, so I saw them many times. The only reason I noticed them in the first place was because one of them looked like a gangster-wannabe, with his baseball cap on backwards and his baggy hoodie pulled up over that. But they were having this perfectly innocuous conversation about whether or not they did, in fact, have any vegetables in the house. This went on for several aisles. I think they resolved it somewhere in frozen food, where they picked up some bags of frozen veggies.
Then there was the mom and her approximately three-year-old daughter. I surmised that the little girl had been very, very good, because Mommy told her that she could pick out any cupcake she wanted. She was incredibly thrilled, and slowly followed her mother to the checkout, gazing rapturously at her single treasure of a cupcake, crowing, “My cupcake gots BLUE!” Indeed it did.
The balding woman startled me somewhat, as I’m not used to seeing women who are so follicularly challenged. At first I thought that perhaps she was a cancer sufferer and was dealing with the effects of chemotherapy, or maybe that she’d had part of her head shaved for surgery. But when I got closer to her I saw that this was definitely a majorly receding hairline. Poor dear. I’d be so cold on my head if I was her.
And speaking of cold, almost every time I go grocery shopping (except in the middle of the summer) I experience chilling numbness at the tips of several of my fingers. I have Reynaud’s syndrome, which makes my fingertips very susceptible to cold and the resulting numbness. It’s interesting to see where the blood flow is impaired, because there is always a clear line across the affected digit. where the colour changes rather drastically to white from the normal pink. I don’t seem to have any of the risk factors associated with developing Reynaud’s (like smoking, for example), but I have always had very cold hands and feet, which I always thought I inherited from my dad. Ironically, it’s my mom who actually has Reynaud’s, just like me.
Anyway, there’s really nothing I can do about it, except try to keep my hands warm and if I do experience an episode, to run hot water over the affected fingers while rubbing them briskly until the feeling and normal colour comes back (or else I just tough it out). But it happens a whole lot in the grocery store, even if I don’t go anywhere near the frozen food section. Weird.
So I filled up my cart and headed to the checkout. For once, there was a cashier and a bagger, so I knew I’d get out of there pretty quickly. Till she got to the clementines, those tiny sweet oranges that we can get only at this time of year. The cashier wasn’t sure of the code to punch in, so she called to the cashier at the next desk. That one didn’t know either. She called over to yet another cashier, who told her to try some numbers that I don’t remember now. My cashier tried them and it came up tangerines, not clementines, so she voided it.
“I’m going to have to go see for myself,” she told me. She hurried over to the fruit section to see which code was printed on the sign, and was back in a flash.
“It WAS the code I thought it was,” she said, and punched it in. Nothing. Puzzled, she tried again. Still nothing.
Jokingly, I gave her my usual line when computer glitches like that happen. “Well, I guess they’re free then!”
The cashier grinned. “I sure don’t care! Just don’t tell anyone!” And she popped the clementines into a waiting bag, and told me what I owed her.
I think I should ask for free food more often.