Monday, February 25, 2008

Seniors' Day at the Market


In one sense I’ve been lucky. For years cooking wasn’t my thing. Fortunately I’ve dated men for whom it was. I had an attraction to guys who would feed me. There were a few things I made well: spaghetti, stir fry, cheesecake, and ambiance were among them.

As I was leaving our home during our divorce, I asked my ex, “Will you show me how to grocery shop?” So he did.

At first I was nervous, stepping gingerly amidst all that food, wondering what I would do with my purchases when I brought them home. But a short time later, say, a year, I had the chore pretty well licked and was ready to go it alone.

Like an archaeological dig, I ventured into new territory, unearthing exotic finds with verve. At home I perused Bon Appétit for ideas on preparation and presentation. The next thing you know, I was a budding Martha Stewart, making the house look like Home Extraordinaire, throwing dinner parties with all the right wines, and truly enjoying this newfound talent, if memory serves.

Then one day my grocery shopping escapades stepped up a notch: they became social events! I’d draw lipstick on my best smile, primp my attitude, slide into my red shoes, and cruise to the store with anticipation.

Calling most employees at this huge supermarket by name, my greetings are personal, “Hey, Bob! How’s that colostomy bag holding up?” “Wow, Sherry! That liposuction is really working!” “Jim! Don’t hold those melons too long.”

Some go out of their way to share a grope. Others have opened a checkout lane just to catch up and chortle. The fun flows into other lanes, and people start smiling all over the place like a flood. The only thing missing at this affair is wine!

Being a freelancer, I shop when I have time, need, and money, not on a particular day. Mornings are usually best because there are fewer shoppers (but fewer checkers). The clientele varies, depending on the time of day and the day itself.

One morning I walked into the store around nine and saw a stubby bus parked by the entryway. Being a regular Sherlock Holmes, I deduced that it was Seniors' Day at the Market. Sure enough, like freshly fallen snow, cotton-tops had infiltrated every aisle. They were everywhere, cautiously pushing carts as if blindly furrowing their way, reaching out every so often to drop something into their baskets.

In my own senior moment, I stood lost, reading the directory for guidance, when I caught something moving in my periphery. Gradually moving toward me, head turning left and right, was a petite, doddering old woman, eyes level with her hands firmly gripping the cart’s handle.

She sees me, I thought. Yes. How can you miss a tall girl like me…or my nose?

Like Jaws swimming nearer her catch, crash! she struck me with her cart. I tried to catch my balance with a step or two sideways, but landed on my rear on the floor. Without a blink or word, she just kept on rolling past me…and I sat bruised in a puddle of giggles, watching her amble around the corner, toilet paper stuck to her shoe.

copyright © 2008 by Auntie Eartha. All rights reserved.

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1 comment:

  1. You can cook??? Wow! Somehow from that photo of you in the market, you don't look old enough to be having a senior moment.

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