On Saturday I was at the grocery store, because that's how I roll. And I'm sorry, I've been saying that all the time recently, and I know that must be annoying because 2006 called and wants its phrase back. My children are going to injure themselves, with the eye rolling but hey. That's how I roll.
Anyhow, there I was, at the grocery store, seriously considering buying some greek yogurt (I resisted, again. I doubt my resolve will hold, though). When I finally turned my back on the yogurt, I strolled down the baking aisle. I tossed a box of parchment baking cups in my cart. I selected a bag of flour and tucked it in the cart too. I rounded the end of the aisle and headed back up the next one. There were canned tomatoes, and I spent a few moments trying to remember if we needed some. In the end, I decided to risk it. I neared the end of that aisle and glanced down at the purse sitting in the child seat.
It was not my purse.
It was, to extrapolate a little, not actually my cart. I'd sauntered away from the yogurt with someone else's cart, complete with purse.
I gaped at it for a moment, because that always helps. Since I'd gone all the way down an aisle, then back up the next aisle, I was back near the yogurt and I looked up to see my cart, marooned there all by itself. I seriously considered slipping away from the stolen cart and grabbing mine and disappearing. But there, just feet from my cart was a very worried woman, talking to a store employee.
"Well, ma'am," he was saying, "it can't have gone too far..."
"IT WAS ME!" I rushed over and pushed her cart toward her. "I STOLE YOUR CART! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to! I don't know what is WRONG with me! I just wasn't paying attention, and I grabbed the wrong cart! I'm sorry!"
She was greatly relieved at first, but as I babbled on, her relief started to wane a bit. She took the handle of her cart and started to ease away, nodding in what she seemed to hope was a reassuring manner.
"I don't think I put anything in your cart!" I babbled on. She glanced down and frowned.
"Um...except the flour. And the baking cups?" She fished them out and handed them to me. I apologized twenty more times, and then we each went our own way.
Except. Have you ever talked to a fellow shopper at the grocery store, at the beginning of your trip, and then as you work your way down the aisles, you find yourself coming face-to-face with that person over and over again? And it gets awkward, because how often can you smile and nod at a stranger before it gets creepy? But then again, you don't want to be rude either?
Yeah, well. This poor woman seemed to end up facing me on nearly ever single aisle. And she looked increasingly nervous about that, so I tried to reassure her that I'm a normal, non-stalking kind of person by smiling warmly every time I saw her.
The effect, after a few meetings, was that she'd swing around a corner and see me, and I'd reflexively grin so wide my cheeks hurt, and nod a few times. Maybe make a few reassuring sounds in the back of my throat. I'M DESCENDED OF PEOPLE FROM MINNESOTA. I CAN'T HELP IT.
The smiling routine was clearly unnerving her after a while, so I sternly ordered myself to knock it off. So the NEXT time I saw her, I schooled my features into a sober, neutral expression. When she picked up her pace and fairly trotted away from me, I realized that I was perhaps actually glaring a little. Which again, not comforting.
But it got worse, because just a little later, she parked her cart next to the tortillas and started perusing the offerings there. This was only a problem because I had JUST been going to get tortillas, and the ones I wanted were right behind her cart. I loitered at the spices for awhile, waiting for her to move, but she didn't, and I knew if she noticed me studying the artificial maple extract in her vicinity too long, she'd probably call security. I was considering calling security on my own silly self, just to put us both out of our misery.
Finally, I decided to just get over it, and get the dumb tortillas. As I reached across her cart, she swung around and we came face-to-face. Again. This wouldn't have been so terrible, except I flinched. And dropped the tortillas in her cart. She picked them up wordlessly, handed them back to me, and turned and left.
I...assume she'd finished her shopping? Probably?
You might be wondering why I'm telling you this story today, and I assure you I have a point. Two actually. First of all, it was still Mother's Day when I started this, and my own mother thinks I should blog more often. So this one's for you, Mom.
And secondly, I want to salute all the moms out there. We're doing our best. I truly believe that. Even though sometimes it looks...a little strange.