I hadn’t planned to go grocery shopping. I had worked most of the day at home non-stop and had a headache and a need to go out. The rain outside looked like it had let up, so I figured I’d take a walk to look for Halloween stuff at the corner Walgreens – the commercialism had finally caught up to me the day before. I had decided to be Wonder Woman and although the Walgreens website said the costume wasn’t available online, I was going to just go and see for myself.
The moment I walked outside there was only a light sprinkle, but there was a muddy mess and a huge puddle by my front gate. Luckily I had my fall boots on, so I walked through it without much concern.
The Walgreens hadn’t lied. There was no Wonder Woman costume.
But two blocks away was the Rite Aid and I wondered what I could find there.
They had no Wonder Woman costume either.
By the time I left the Rite Aid, I had decided I’d just settle for some Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer when I got back to work. So I headed next door to the Ralphs. In the brief transition from one store to the next, I realized my umbrella broke.
So on my mental shopping list was 1) Get a new umbrella and 2) Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer.
I apparently don’t adhere to mental shopping lists. I adhere to:
- My favorite apples – Jonagolds – showing up at the store
- Campbell’s Soup on sale
- Paper Towels (I was on the last roll, I remembered)
- Milk and Half/Half
- Vegetables like Carrots and Green Beans
- French Fries (because it was cheaper to buy them frozen then the “Go to the McDonald’s across the street” plan I had in my head)
- A muffin pan on sale
Notice how 1-7 does not include any items on the Mental Shopping List? Because despite the fact that it was raining outside, I didn’t see any umbrellas. And despite the fact that there were ginormous $40 “Big Mac” pumpkins on sale in the produce section and the commercialism of autumn/winter holidays beginning before summer ends, there was no Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer.
So there I was with four bags of groceries in flimsy plastic (No sturdy eco-friendly bags to put over my shoulders. Of course not!) about to embark outside in the rain with not only a broken umbrella but also the inability to use an umbrella anyway. And did you know that the muffin pan is not a friendly grocery bag shaped object?
It’s not like I haven’t gone grocery shopping and ended up with the desire to channel my own inner Vishnu at my exit before. I’ve made the mistake of buying too much stuff and forgetting in my carless state that I can’t carry that much, but this was pretty the situation that took the cake (or maybe the cupcake from the muffin pan?).
I walked out with four bags in hand, plus my purse (did I mention my purse was a handbag and not a shoulder bag? Or that I had a tetanus and a flu shot the day before, one in each arm muscle?) and got about next door to the Rite Aid where I thought perhaps I wanted to walk in and plop twenty bucks down for a grocery cart. But I looked into the distance and thought – I can do this.
And I did…with multiple stops, readjustments, and people looking at me like “What is this girl in the BRIGHT red scarf and TALL brown boots doing with this many groceries?” I had not dressed to hide from the masses, and they were certainly not hiding their amused smiles naturally etched on their faces and their stifled laughter.
Two blocks away from my apartment, I had a sudden thought: How am I going to open the gate to an apartment building that has a mud puddle in front? So I had to reorganize, rearrange, so I could carry 4 bags of groceries, my purse, a broken umbrella, and have use of my keys. And that muffin pan…
I was a half block away from my apartment when tragedy struck. Clunk! A can of Campbell’s Chicken Soup was down for the count. It could only mean one thing: there was a hole in one of the bags. Did I mention I self-checked out and I didn’t double-bag my groceries?
Being Asian, I was adept at the Asian Squat and sat down to solve my dilemma of being so close and so far. I put some items in my purse, structured the bag with the hole in it so that the item next to it was bigger. I cradled my muffin pan and my half gallon of milk like a baby (who knew training from 13 cousins under 13 could be grocery useful?), and prayed.
When I got to my building, someone had cleared the mud and having my keys out in my hands, I was able to get in fairly fast. I think I heard a girl walking by saying “Wow…”
I walked up the stairs and was never so relieved to get to my apartment door.
Exhausted I let the groceries sit by my door and sat down, and then I realized how lucky I am. There had been no rain. The mud at the front gate had cleared. And while I didn’t do a perfect job of getting to Point A-to-Point-B, I did accomplish it .
I learned today that I’m definitely not Wonder Woman, but by the sheer volume of my perseverance (or stupidity) and a lot of laughter, I very much like the woman I am….
…though I probably should work a little bit more on foresight – at least with grocery purchases.