Here’s a story about how a routine trip to the local shopping centre can churn chaos in an otherwise peaceful existence.
Its a Saturday which makes it the obligatory “spend time with family” day. Having woken up at an indecent hour for a driving lesson, I stay in bed debating whether or not to cancel the lesson. Dismiss my misgivings about the instructor and the ridiculous 8am timeslot, get out of bed, engage in my usual morning routine, not so different from that of many around the world, and head out for an unproductive lesson.
Unproductive because she’s old and doesn’t let me make mistakes. How else am I supposed to learn. Also, her instruction could really use some polishing. This is the down side of learning to drive when you’re a lot older than 17. You start noticing what your instructor’s doing wrong, not what you’re doing wrong, which is driving into the side of the curb. So what if my left turns are too wide? Its a wide road, people will deal with it. They can see the L-plates, they’re not coming any where near me. Its MY road.
Come back to fit in a work out before I take a shower and get ready to hit the local shopping mall. Prior to leaving, my younger sister Sidrah hands me a lengthy list of groceries.
Generally a pretty domesticated person, there are only two things I’m unable to take on.
1. Cleaning (the house, my room, unless its a new cubicle at work, I can’t bring myself to take on the onerous task of cleaning)
2. Grocery Shopping
I remember a time when I used to live on my own and actually liked grocery shopping because it meant I could buy the things I wanted to make and invite my friends around to commend my culinary abilities. That was at least 3 or 4 years ago and times have changed. My mum now does the shopping, reason why the pantry is full of Shan masala, cumin, haldi (tumeric), ajwain and other pungent south asian spices. And there’s no pasta, ever.
I used various antics to persuade Sidrah to come with me and get the groceries herself, but my futile attempts just delayed my trip. Finally get there, look around for the items I actually wanted to buy and upon not finding them brazenly pull out a mega trolley and push it in to Woolstores.
Before I continue, I want to state that I am not an uncoordinated person. I carry myself with the poise any young lady should and am known to saunter rather than walk. I am able to handle most situations with humour if not calm. Grocery shopping on the other hand, brings out a whole different side.
My sister who did accompany me to the shops managed to disappear into the maze of aisles and emerge victorious on the other side of the check-out before I found a punnet of unbruised grape tomatoes. Each and every reduced punnet had at least one bruised and mouldy tomato in there and was reduced to $1. As I was checking for the good ones, some of the juices dribbled on to my fingers. Yuck. I decided to pay the full price ($1.68) and was able to occupy my mega trolley with all the required greens.
Now comes the exciting part, the list I have consists of varied items, that are noted without any consideration for the buyer. They’re not in order. We have cooking chocolate lumped with frozen vegies and Betty Crocker Biscuits lumped with Cheese Twisties.
I’m not used to this particular store but I’m not used to buying groceries either. I like to measure my time, go in and to the exact spots I need to, because I used to know where everything was kept, pick the most efficient check-out kid and get out. That’s how I like to do my grocery shopping. This on the other hand was a nightmare! I was rummaging shelves titled cereal (no capitalisation) for Twisties because although one end is for Cereal, and they’re out of the ones I’ve been specified to buy, the other end is laden with all varities of chips.
I’m looking for Golden Syrup which is not in the sugar aisle, white chocolate chip biscuits which don’t exist and diet dark chocolate, which Woolies don’t have. I check the list a hundred times to ensure I am making some kind of progress. Oh My God.
I was walking around trying to make sense of the place, mumbling directions and abuse to myself, bothering the shelving staff to help me with the giant sized aisles and to-ing and fro-ing the extremities of the store while making comments to random shoppers.
I finally found everything excluding, bread, eggs and ginger because believe it or not, I couldn’t find them, and was able to take my extravagant $67.81 worth of shopping out of the store, after which I needed to destress with a cup of coffee and the latest Big Issue magazine.
How does anyone find anything quickly in a grocery store? Why aren’t the greens actually green and how is it that I’m able to decipher data flowing from traffic analysers and yet be stymied by the variety and disorganisation at my local supermarket? How do you ever get a good buy amidst the myriad shelved consumables and Why do I never have my fly buys card when I make significant purchases?
And to further aggravate my agitated state, Sidrah worked the word jumble before I could.
R I O
A M N
P A Y
Spells a nine letter word.