Sunday, October 11, 2009

Did you find everything you were looking for?

Each fall weekend forces a delicate balance. If left to my own devices, I would fully immerse myself in the football culture, as expanded upon in a post from August, entitled, "Hut, hut." To assuage the demands of the familial chores, I try to accomplish at least a couple of tasks before sitting down to scream at that box in the corner of the family room. Today, I volunteered to perform the weekly grocery shopping prior to kickoff. Accompanied by one of my daughters, whose name I've agreed not to mention, we allowed a solid hour-and-a-half to navigate the aisles of Safeway. Whenever we make this trip, I have to force myself to slow down, be patient, explain things and answer questions, as this girl has an inquiring mind, especially when the subjects are people and food.
Her queries constitute a large portion of these trips, and they can't be predicted:
"Dad, if you had to eat all the mayonnaise in this row or be killed, what would you do? Because I would be killed."
"Dad, I think that old lady is a hunchback. What if she needs something from the top shelf?"
"Dad, why is that boy playing with the dog toys? I thought you said boys are monkeys."
Sometimes I answer right away, and others I ignore until they're asked again.
She's now reached the point where she knows locations for various items, and hence has become a bit of a shopping ally, rather than a finely tuned, relentless, begging apparatus.
"Do you know where the baby wash is?' I asked her.
"I think it's either by the shampoo, or in the baby section by the diapers. But why don't you just ask a worker?"
That's always my last resort, because Safeway employees must get points in heaven for personally escorting you to your item of interest. An eighty-pound checker could be lugging a side of beef back to the meat department, and if you ask her where the tuna tapénade is, she'll not only walk you to it, but load you in the Safeway van and drive you to the South Tacoma Piggly Wiggly if Safeway doesn't carry it.
The daughter and I slowly and methodically covered the shopping list. My goal is always to avoid the inefficient "double-back," where one must cover a row previously trodden. We entered the checkout line, where a good shopper must squeeze as much onto the conveyor belt as possible, and then look foolish as it advances forward, leaving your items triple-stacked with an acre of smooth conveyor belt real estate directly behind them. We slapped down the plastic divider, signaling our haul's completion, and only then could we examine what Brad and Angelina are up to.
Another successful trip, with half an hour to spare before gametime.
And by the way, I'd rather try to eat all that mayonnaise.


  1. My son used to ask all those crazy questions, and I would LIE to him. Lie outrageously. In fact, he might still think that chocolate milk is kept in the light brown water tank thing that hovered over our old town like a footed spaceship. And yes, strawberry milk in the pinkish one.

  2. That's great. It's a good way to maintain control and entertain yourself at the same time.