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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Grocery Shopping.

Yesterday, in a moment of weakness, my wife agreed to take me grocery shopping. I love going grocery shopping. It is a chance to swim amongst humanity in all its vibrant glory. Moving, weaving, cruising, stopping to shop, staring, selecting, starting, hurrying, loitering, gridlock, anger, potential violence, resolution, all of the drama of life, and snack crackers. Everybody needs to shop for groceries. It is the place to be and it is the place everybody will be sooner or later. Old people driving electric carts, people who don’t need so much, and just carry little baskets.

I always admire the people who can bring the whole family. Two carts, several kids, all pushing, pulling, battling, bickering their way through. One family, it had to be a foster home looking at the diversity of the children, was always just a step ahead of us. A young man, maybe 12 years old, pushed one of the carts, carefully, almost surgically through the aisles. At one point he stopped and patiently explained to a much younger child why they couldn’t by a bag of candy bars that were calling to every child, and some adults, who passed. It was a good argument, (one I’ve heard from my wife several times) but the child seemed unconvinced.

We were cruising down the long aisle that runs parallel to the front of the store, and some shopper in
his mid twenties came rocketing out of the wine and beer aisle. He almost clipped the front of our cart. He was in a hurry, and not paying attention. A bad idea in Kroger on a Saturday afternoon. He seemed sorry, and embarrassed. But, the minute he was done apologizing he took off, all motion, haste, impatience. Rushing somewhere, hurrying away from the front of the store, where the cashiers were waiting to provide escape. It wouldn’t have surprised me if a police shopping cart would have come screaming from the wine aisle in hot pursuit.

We ran into a young man, probably 5 or 6, dressed in a taekwondo uniform, complete with Korean characters drawn down the lapel. He told us he was going to be a ninja. Remarkable, we replied. He showed us some amazing ninja kicks and spins, and we gave him a standing ovation. “Good bye.” he said, and then he came back and said “You didn’t say thank you.” So, we thanked him. You don’t mess with a ninja seeking gratitude.

Everybody shops, everybody needs groceries, even if they are just crackers, beer and potato chips. Sooner or later if you go to enough grocery stores you will run into everyone. And if you don’t keep your eyes open they will run into you.