Sunday, March 29, 2009

In The End, They All Belong To Me

After yesterday's epic journey in search of The Perfect Pencil, I honestly didn't think I had it in me to visit the grocery store.  I planned to simply travel the mile or so to the corner store, stock up on a variety of doo-dads and assorted nibblies then call it a day.

But once I was out, I figured I might as well just get it over with.  I was already soaked to the skin from the walk to the car.  (Did I mention it was raining?)  The right thing to do was stock the house with something besides dip in a can and jelly beans.

As always happens to me in the grocery store, the other shoppers seemed to know I was coming.  They did their best to make certain I was challenged by the experience.  Heaven forbid that I just grab some tomatoes and be done with it.  No.  Shopping should involve leaving the cart somewhere near the entrance so I can better navigate my way around hordes of browsers who suddenly feel the need to stop and chat in the produce section.

None was more dedicated to this endeavor than Cammo Dude.  Clad in his fatigues, dirty sweatshirt and ball cap, he was the epitome of the Confused Shopper.  Everywhere I went, he was there, squinting at his list and looking confused.  If I needed to use the scales, he needed to weigh one mushroom.  If I wanted a little plastic bag in which to place my 'maters, he needed to take the last one.  

He clearly had no idea what he was doing as a shopper.  But as an Annoyer Of Sheep, he was a champ.  I wasn't worried, though.  I knew I'd own him and that it wouldn't take long.

Sure enough, our paths crossed again in Ethnic Foods.  (Because pasta is the very definition of exotic, international cuisine over here in the wilds of Maine...)  I waited patiently for him to finish staring at the lasagna noodles so that I might have a turn to do the same.  Eventually, he stood back although he did not have a single noodle to his credit.  And that's when I heard it:

Um...excuse me.  Miss?  Can I trouble you for a minute?

I smiled and stood up.  (Lasagna noodles are on the bottom shelf because the universe hates me and my knees)  And there it was.  My moment.  Block my path to the produce if you will, but you will need me eventually.  Everyone does.  I have that kind of face.  If there is a shopper in need, I am the one to whom they turn.  I can always be counted upon to have at least one complete stranger accost me with some shopping-related issue.

I looked into his eyes and the story was clearly written there.  It was a sad tale and one that helped to explain how this poor, emotionally unequipped man ended up being the one having to do the grocery shopping early on a Sunday morning.  

I indicated that I was more than willing to help out a fellow consumer and he tentatively showed me his shopping list.  It was not exactly the most legible document and his having been clutching at it compulsively since Frozen Foods wasn't helping matters.  He said that his wife sent him out to purchase No Boil Lasagna Noodles.  Another look deep into his eyes told me that he probably wasn't going to be allowed back in the house without them.  

You don't often see that look in the eyes of gigantic, middle-aged men wearing camouflage pants.  I almost regretted the little bit of triumph I felt when I knew I was holding his very fate in my hands.  Almost...

I quickly found his noodles for him (also on the bottom shelf, mind you) and snagged some of the Must Be Boiled Variety for myself.  We went our separate ways for a short time.  But stores are nothing if not conducive to path-crossing and we ended up in the same aisles several times after that encounter.

But he didn't block me once.  In fact, he even made a point of moving aside in the dairy section.  I didn't need anything dairy-based, but I bought some cheese just so he'd feel like the gesture wasn't wasted.  

In the end, everyone needs me at the grocery store.  Stand in the way of my veggies if you must, but know that I will be the one to whom you turn in your hour of desperation.  And it doesn't hurt to call me "Miss" on a rainy-bad-hair-day when I don't have any make up on.

I figured my good deed had earned me a trip to the Dollar Store next door.  I had, after all, saved a marriage, if not a life.  Somewhere out there, a cammo-clad family is enjoying a hearty lasagna and maybe thinking about how everyone deserves a chance to use the plastic bags.

I found some rather cute, little area rugs which I didn't think would be too much of a decorating disaster in my kitchen.  I also spotted several skeins of crochet cotton in a lovely shade of blue.  I happen to think that crochet cotton is the biggest scam in the fiber world.  Making that little bit of string look like a gigantic ball of useful yarn at a reasonable price...shameful!

But I'll pay a buck for it.  Especially if it matches my new scatter rug!

Who knows?  Maybe that will be the skein that gets me knitting again?  I've been remiss in the fiber department all weekend.  I've been much too busy buying new pencils, fighting my way through the grocery store and making the world a better place one noodle at a time.

Now if I only had a clue what I was going to do with all this crochet cotton.  Maybe I could make shopping bags for my next trip to the store...



Mel said...

Personally, I'm a fan of the no-boil lasagne. Saves a step and all, and with the good brands, at least, I haven't noticed a real difference in texture. Of course, I've always wondered if the must-boil stuff wouldn't also work fine as no-boil, since really, if you've got enough sauce in there it should absorb the moisture just as well while it's baking for an hour.

crzjane said...

That was nice of you saving that poor man. A lot of men seem lost in a supermarket.
Have fun with that crochet cotton.
That's a nice looking rug, matches your floor nicely.

=Tamar said...

That's a pretty blue. Y'know, I get a lot of crochet cotton in the bags of stuff at the thrift shop; they seem to use it as filler. Lately I've been using it to play with fingerloop braiding, which is as good a way to make cat toys as anything else. It's online so you can easily find out all about it. Or you could knit washcloths to match your rug.

Kath said...

I vote for dishcloths to match the rug! (And I really do mean dishcloths, not "dishcloths") Unfortunately in my house scatter rugs ARE cat toys - they make perfect sparring and wrassling partners apparently.

Beth said...

Your new rug looks great on your floor! Ask the AGK what to do with the crochet cotton. He probably has some ideas.

I'd be happy if someone called me "Miss" at the grocery store. I usually get "Ma'am." That makes me feel a million years old. :(

Rabbitch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rabbitch said...

I like it when people call me "Ma'am". I am so blatantly elderly and no longer deserving of the title "Miss" that I feel almost insulted (and definitely startled) when someone uses it.

As for the crochet cotton, you could a) start crocheting lace doilies, b) make little facecloths (the crochet cotton is great for making little washcloths that are good for exfoliating) or c) give in to your baser instincts and buy a loom and use the crochet cotton for warp.

You're welcome.

Mia said...

Nice little run - isn't it cool how such a little shopping splurge can make ya feel better? And speaking of pasta - since when did whole wheat get so popular? Last time I went shopping there was a whole section of lasagna, angel hair, etc... all in whole wheat.. who knew??

Wonder what yer gonna make with that cotton??

My verif word is "mongstr"

Thought you'd like that - it's kind of zombish :)

trek said...

I had to visit three purveyors of the foodstuffs this weekend (regular grocery, warehouse club, and the grocery store where I never shop but which had 1% milk on sale for $2.09 a gallon and therefore couldn't be passed up) and nobody called me "Miss".

Perhaps next time, I should try it without the Neatnik: nobody calls you "Miss" when you are accompanied by a first grader...

Donna Lee said...

I have one of those faces,too. On Saturday as I was contemplating how much toilet paper we needed, a woman came up and asked me to read a sale paper to her and explain the offer. She said she had read it over and over and didn't get it. I wasn't sure if she was for real but I planed along and we read the ad. Then i saw the light bulb moment when she got it.

It's tough to have "that face".

Anonymous said...

Such a nice gesture to buy some cheese so the poor man (that's redundant, btw) didn't feel his deferral to you was wasted.

I'm thinking dishcloths to match the rug. Color coordination makes everything better. I would advise doubling the string, though -- one strand will be awfully thin. Ask me how I know...

Knitting Linguist said...

OK, I'm laughing pretty hard over here. Camo-dude is probably very grateful to you, and you definitely earned some serious karmic brownie points by not taking your opportunity to get revenge when it came along. The possibilities for misdirection of a pasta-ly sort really were endless...

dangerousLee said...

You know, being that my mom was the master of lasagna, I can only picture her rolling over in her grave at "No Boil Lasagna Noodles". It's sending a shiver up my spine. BTW, you can just give the dollar store crotchet cotton to AGK to play with. I just see too many blogs coming out of that one harmless looking spool (or whatever you call it). You don't want to know my verification word, it sounds semi-obscene.