In elementary school, we were told that everyone has a talent–whether it’s in sports, music, or art.
I never agreed, though, because I was never good at anything. I suck at sports, I can’t play an instrument, and I draw as well a first grader.
But I think I might have discovered a new backwards talent: I am good at sucking a food shopping. No, not because I want to buy everything or I don’t know when to stop taking free samples.
I suck at food shopping because grocery stores scare me.
Let’s put it this way, I’d rather do all of my major food shopping in a 711 than step into a grocery store. Food shopping is something I need to think very long and hard about and then mentally prepare myself for. Everything about it–from the beginning to the end–makes me nervous.
Finding a parking spot in the lot is like a game of musical chairs. Cars slowly circle around the lot until white reverse lights break the trance, and all of the cars jut toward the spot.
Once you’ve parked and entered the store, there is the matter of finding the right aisles.
Super markets are like high ways. They are always jammed with people power walking their shopping carts in every direction, so you have to be alert at all times and keep up with the flow of foot traffic to avoid getting your toes run over.
Once you’ve found the aisle you need to be in, you always find that someone is standing right in front of the item you need.
The thing that scares me the most about super markets is the feeling of being judged.
If I enter the super market without a grocery list (like I usually do), I usually forget what I’m even there for. I wander from aisle to aisle, scanning the shelves, acting like I know exactly what I am looking for, avoiding eye contact with the professional food shoppers.
You know the kind–the ones who enter the store on a mission. They know where every item on their list is (they actually have lists!) and don’t stop for the free samples. They may have come in for 50 items but they are at the cash register, coupons in hand, in under a half hour. They don’t even break a sweat.
There is a certain feeling of defeat that comes from knowing I am not good at food shopping.
It is a gift, a talent, a skill…one that I have not acquired yet.