As I pushed my cart down the aisle in a near Zombie trance, I noticed a young, recently engaged couple, friends of my children, who have recently moved in together. They did not see me as I was quite far down an aisle. They were looking at items in a feature area away from the main aisles. I could see them smiling, touching, talking, laughing, in love.
Seeing their obvious pleasure in each others company even while doing the tedious task of grocery shopping gave me momentary delight. To be young, in love, learning about what your partner likes, maybe deciding on gourmet meals to cook together, it appeared they were enjoying every minute of it.
Their joy had jolted me out of my trance to a place of cognitive thought. When did I stop loving visits to the grocery store? Did I ever love it?
Maybe I thought it was exciting when I first moved out on my own to attend university, living in an apartment with a friend. Finally independent, having the choice of what to buy and cook might have been fun, though I don’t recall it being so.
We had to take the bus to the Safeway store several blocks away because neither of us had a vehicle. No, I don’t think I loved it even then. We were on a budget, so bought lots of tuna, wieners, ground beef, pasta, and cheaper produce. Plus we had to juggle our full bags on and off the bus, always hoping they would not split open allowing our apples to roll down the aisle, or the sidewalk.
Grocery shopping was definitely not the highlight of my life back then, it isn’t now. I paused to realize I had been shopping for groceries for over thirty years. No wonder it felt like such drudgery. With an average of three visits per week being a conservative estimate (admittedly I have never been a seven day meal planner) I had been grocery shopping well over 5000 times!
About the time I finished that thought, I was next to the young couple. Spotting me, we exchanged greetings. I blurted out, “Looks like you two are having fun shopping together. Enjoy it. After you have been buying groceries for thirty years it is not so much fun anymore.”
They simply smiled in response, romantic love blinding them to my cynicism. I was grateful for that. Let them have their ignorant bliss. Time goes too quickly, before they know it they will be on their 5314th trip to the grocery store too.
(Coming soon…..more thoughts from the grocery store, including “If I was Oprah….”)