Thursday, March 15, 2012

In which I am the adult I imagined:

We sold our house, we paid higher taxes. My husband had to stay home to be with the babies, I worked even though it pained me on a molecular level. We decided to separate, we had to tell our children. Our dogs died, we had to teach our small humans about mourning. Barf happened, we cleaned it. People screamed for food, we cooked it. I feel most adult when there's nobody there to step in and do something for me, when I can't cry and hide or run away. The first instance of this was probably my F in entomology at UC Davis, but my daughter's first diaper blowouts had more of an immediate, pressing effect. Shit can't be ignored as easily as a shitty quarter of college.

Responsibility has the predictable heft of adulthood. The chores of living make me feel like I have to step up, and I feel like life can't be about just me. Kids, a house, a career--these all accelerated that responsibility factor. But there's one place that makes me feel the kind of delicious freedom I dreamed of as a child. A place that holds the kind of adult power which seemed out of my elementary school reach:

the grocery store.

God, I love the grocery store. And I'm not picky. I love 'em all. Whole Foods, Sprouts, Bel Air, Winco, Trader Joe's, Grocery Outlet. Each has something different to offer in terms of product and experience. I even kind of love grocery shopping on vacation, finding the comfort and stability of healthy food when I'm in a new place. Safeway on Maui.  Albertsons in Palm Springs.  The Super Wal Mart in Jackson, Mississippi.  The bodegas of New York. And Costco... so many beautiful Costcos across the earth.  I love the challenge. I love the hunt for deals and fresh produce. Gimme a cart, and I'm the adult I thought I would be when I was nine.

Cocoa Pebbles?  Sure.  Throw 'em in the cart.

Grocery shopping makes me so deeply happy. I'm not sure if it's the allure of aisles and aisles of things my mom said no to when I was a kid, or the knowlege that I can afford just about anything in the whole place if I so desire (seriously, where else can I afford anything in a whole store?), or the promise of new tastes and potential projects, but I adore my time behind a cart. I feel grown up when I push that basket of kids through the rows of veggies or when I sort through roasts and whole chickens.

Perhaps my grocery-shopping self is my imagined adult self, but what better reason to love it? If I want to spend all my money on Squirt, salt and pepper Kettle chips and Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream, I can. I can also stretch $50 like you wouldn't believe when I need to feed my family. In lean times, my hobby has been a huge asset.

God bless those ordered aisles.

For the next few weeks I'm writing in response to prompts from The Scintilla Project. Check it out.

Today's prompt: When did you realise you were a grown up? What did this mean for you? Shock to the system? Mourning of halcyon younger days? Or the embracing of the knowledge that you can do all the cool stuff adults do: drink wine, go on parent-free vacations, eat chocolate without reprimand?

1 comment:

  1. i am really really enjoying learning more about you. also, YES to the grocery store. there is something super adult about it. also, i will let you in on my secret intense admiration of extreme couponers...