I used to enjoy grocery shopping.
Way back when I was young, single, fun-loving, and didn't own a car, I had a boyfriend who, whenever I got crabby, used to offer to drive me to the grocery store. He knew nothing cheered me up more than having the chance to buy such glamorous items as: a five-pound sack of sugar, a couple of large packages of toilet paper, and a giant economy-sized-bag of cat litter, all in the same trip. Ordinarily I walked everywhere I went, so I had to make do with a small box of sugar, and a single roll of Scott tissue--otherwise I'd have no room in the bag for anything I actually, you know, ate.
I'm sure the sight of the back seat of his 1963 Corvette filled to overflowing with large, excrement-related consumer items filled me with a boundless gratitude. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if I had allowed him one or two sexual favors, because Audrey Hepburn gazing longingly into the windows of Tiffany had nothing on your Poppy's yearning when she spotted the 25-pound sacks of kitty litter, and remembered that she had a long walk home, and other groceries to buy.
Well, those days are over. Grocery shopping has lost its former allure. I don't own cats anymore, and I have two cars, so no one is getting any sexual favors for taking me to the grocery store. In fact, you're more likely to get them if you find a way to let me avoid grocery shopping altogether. Say, for example, by offering to take me out to dinner. Or by becoming the delivery guy from the local store that--very quaintly--still lets you call up and order groceries. (Note to That Stud Muffin I Married: I'm joking.)
I tend to avoid grocery shopping as much as possible, and when I do go to the store, I go to buy certain foods that know I need. And I go to the smallest store possible. But yesterday I broke down and went to a somewhat larger store because I needed paper grocery sacks to cut up and use to wrap all the books I'm getting rid of on half.com and bookmooch. I just listed another couple of shelves' worth of extremely dull academic books that I don't have time to read any more, because I'm too busy reading housekeeping manuals, etiquette books, and the fiction of P. G. Wodehouse. I'm expecting a flurry of eager emails from people who simply can't get enough of literary theory and cultural studies. When they arrive, I need to have my stack of brown paper grocery sacks ready, or I'll get all flustered.
So you see, I really wanted to get bags. But while I was there, I figured I'd buy some food. Milk, bread, eggs--and one or two other things.
So there I was, unpacking six or seven sacks of groceries, and it occurred to me that there were way too many items that only one member of the household eats. This struck me as terribly inefficient--all these random foodstuffs that almost no one likes, and yet, I must buy them, haul them into the house, put them away, and then, probably, cook them, and afterwards, do the dishes that held them. It seems so unfair!
But just when I was about to dissolve into tears of self-pity, I imagined what Terry Gilliam would do, if he were to animate pictures of these foodstuffs to tell a story--let's say, a typical Saturday afternoon in the life of The Buxoms.
Mr. Buxom, played by A Can of Guinness Stout,
is taking a nap. Mrs. Buxom, played by a Bottle of Stonyfield Farm Organic Yogurt Smoothie,
is blogging. Young Master Buxom, played by a Package of Sliced Pepperoni,
is watching cartoons in the sun room. And Little Miss Buxom, played by a Packet of Quaker Oats Instant Maple and Brown Sugar Flavored Oatmeal,
is in her room, reading.
Suddenly, an enormous bouquet of broccoli attacks! What will this random group of alcoholics, health food cranks, and junk food aficionados do to defend themselves? How can they work together? The studio audience gasps in dismay!
But wait! In a heroic display of family togetherness, the Buxoms decide to eat the same food. Thus, they eat the monster--cut up, steamed in the microwave, and dressed with a bit of butter and a sprinkle of salt.