Jan 18, 201309:30 AM
Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans
Tales from Makin' Groceries
My husband had back surgery Wednesday to remove part of a herniated disc, and I am beyond delighted to report that the surgery went perfectly and brought the expected relief. He is up and hobbling about as I write this on Thursday evening, and though he isn’t moving with his usual fluid grace, he is moving without wincing, screaming and yelling obscenities. Trust me, this is a marked, marked improvement.
Of course, my primary relief is that he is no longer in excruciating pain. But my other main relief? That I don’t have to do the grocery shopping anymore.
I know this sounds incredibly selfish and shortsighted – bitching about the privilege of being able to buy fresh food when there are people starving and stagnating in food deserts across America. But I can’t help it. I really, really, really hate grocery shopping.
I don’t know exactly what happened. I liked it as a kid; my dad and I would go to the Schwegmann’s on Broad (which I thought was so cool because we could park on the second floor), and my mom and I would go to the Winn-Dixie at the foot of Vets (which I thought was so cool because it had computerized shopping carts). Maybe my anxiety over grocery shopping as an adult stems from mild untreated anxiety in general, or maybe it’s just not as much fun when you’re spending your own money. In any case, from the parking lot to the checkout lane, the grocery store stresses me out, and I would gladly trade any household chore – cleaning the toilet, taking out the trash, washing cloth diapers – to get out of going to the store.
On top of that, while some men might be impossible to shop for, my husband is impossible to grocery shop for. I like to cook, but just in a generic I’m-from-New-Orleans-so-of-course-I-like-to-cook sort of way. My husband is serious about cooking, and so when I go to the store for him, I always end up standing in the produce aisle texting him things like, “They don’t have organic baby arugula in the plastic box; do you want organic baby kale in the plastic box or arugula in a bag?” while secretly panicking that maybe arugula has another name that I should know and is just labeled differently at this store. (Like I said, I suspect that I have some underlying anxiety issues.)
Also, I am too short to reach anything on the top shelf, and I am too much of a wimp to try to climb shelves to get to whatever I need, so I always have to make a detour over to customer service so that someone can be paged to report to various aisles to lift down foodstuffs for me.
My final issue is the checkout line. In Missouri, they had self-check lines, which suited me just fine – I didn’t feel any acute loss over not having to make small talk with the cashier. But here – I don’t know if it’s a shoplifting issue or just a behind-the-times-on-technology issue, but no store I can think of has a self-check system. By some fluke, I always seem to pick the wrong line: On my past three trips, I have ended up A) in the line of a brand-new cashier who had to stop and look up the codes for every kind of produce I had and tried to hassle me over my expired license when she carded me for the wine I was buying. B) behind a man trying to buy 10 pounds of boiled shrimp with a Louisiana Purchase card, which is verboten for some reason, causing his entire order to have to be voided and re-rung item by item. C) in front of a woman whose son kept ramming the cart into the back of my legs while she blithely read the headlines of Us Weekly.
But soon, these days will all be behind me, as I can once again let my husband be in charge of procuring the boxed organic baby arugula while I say, “Oh, hey, while you’re there, can you get me some Cool Brew, some lime La Croix, a Lunchable and a box of Little Debbies? Cool, thanks.”
Things are getting back to normal around here, and I know that both Robert and I could not possibly be happier about that.