It must be September: it's silly season at the grocery store. Every year at this time the grocery store is inundated with university students who have either A) never stepped foot inside a grocery store or, more likely B) never stepped inside of a grocery store to buy groceries. Most of them are probably getting dinner on the table for the first time by themselves, and I do have a certain sympathy for that. Running a house well is not easy, and it's tough enough to do it for yourself let alone a couple of other people who don't know any more than you do about it. But I can't fathom the people who wander into the store looking for the "Toast" section. They should probably just order take-out. I am particularly interested in the contents of the carts, too. The young women get about 10 cases of bottled water, a metric tonne of fat-free yogurt and some zucchini. The men load up on pasta, potato chips and Kraft Dinner. (I once dated a guy in university who lived in an older house, which had very high ceilings and the kitchen cupboards went all the way up to the top. He and his room mates were ecstatic to find themselves at a store which had Kraft Dinner on for 15 cents a box, and they bought as much as they could drag home. I'd bet they bought a hundred boxes. It delighted them no end that they could fill the kitchen cupboards so that when you threw open the doors, all you could see was floor to ceiling Kraft Dinner. I think that was the highlight of their university careers.)
I took the girls grocery shopping the other day so that we could get stuff for lunches. (I've learned the hard lesson that what I think is a satisfying lunch and what they consider a satisfying lunch are two wildly different things.) Thing 1 has to stay for lunch at school now, since it's a bit of a hike from high school to home. But the upside is that she can bring peanut butter to school for the first time in 11 years. Hallelujah! (I guess the powers-that-be figure that high school students can be trusted to be responsible for what they put in their mouths, which leads me to believe that they have never met any high school students.) Thing 1 and Thing 2 both asked hopefully if we could get white bread for their lunches, like this was some far-and-away vision that they could only ever hope for, like winning the lottery or something. When I said yes they got all swoony and misty eyed. Then, having had that particular aspiration come true, they asked if we could also get 2% milk. I said yes to that one too, and they practically hoisted me onto their shoulders. Who knew? (My friend Wendy's daughter once asked for 2% milk for Christmas. I had no idea 2% milk was the ultimate ideal for so many children, including my own. Maybe we should start up a charity for such deprived youth.)
I also had a very nice,but incredibly innocent cashier; she kept asking me what all the produce was, and what I would be using it for. At first I thought she was new and was asking because she needed to know for all the product codes, but no, she was really quite curious. "What kind of lettuce is this?", "Romaine", "Huh. So, what do you use that for?", "Salad", "Wow." This went on for most of my produce. Okay, I can see you maybe not knowing the difference between parsley and cilantro, and I get that not everyone knows what a mango looks like, but an avocado? Yellow squash? Ginger? Finally I decided that she was an alien sent from another planet to discover more about humans and their habits, and from then on, I found it much easier to get along with her.