*** Originally appeared on the blog Quarter Life Catastrophe***
Who would have thought that the scariest place in my neighborhood would be the grocery store? There is only one nearby and the key to surviving this experience is to visit in the middle of a weekday.
Yesterday I needed to pick up a few things; it was around six o’clock in the evening. I hopped in my red Jetta, slid my sunglasses on, turned the radio up and headed towards what I now refer to as “the most terrifying place on earth.” Am I being melodramatic? Probably.
I parked my car as far as possible from the door, which should have been my first hint to turn around and go home. Just walking towards the building, I was almost hit three times by shoppers looking for a place to leave their vehicle. Apparently people either missed the part about pedestrians having the right of way in their driving classes; or maybe their instructor forgot to cover it, who knows, but that is a moot point.
I breathed a sigh of relief and silently congratulated myself on surviving the trek, before laughing out loud when I noticed the huge vestibule completely void of shopping arts and baskets. There was an old woman scratching her head asking people what to do since there were no carts left. Go home lady, I thought, save yourself!
Did I heed my own advice? Of course not, I just needed a couple of things; I could carry it. Well as it typically goes, a couple of things turns into a couple more things and then a couple more. I was soon weaving among the chaotic milling of shoppers and their carts and kids screaming and old ladies walking too damn slow! Calm down Beth.
I had strategically placed a loaf of bread, turkey, half gallon of milk, box of cereal and container of cottage cheese in my arms when I decided that I needed a 12 pack of Diet Pepsi. What can I say, I get up at 3am everyday and I’m not a coffee drinker. Now, in this particular grocery store, the soda is in the very back corner of the store. I made it back there just fine, slipped a pack on my ring and pinky fingers (my time spent in the grocery biz coming in handy?) and started making a bee line for the registers.
I was almost there when I felt the cardboard box tearing. Oh God no. I began walking faster… and for future reference, this makes cardboard rip faster. The next thing I knew, 12 cans of Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi began descending to the tile floor and rolling all over the place. I can just picture myself standing there, arms full, with an empty box dangling from my fingers. I stood there for a moment, letting what had just occurred sink in, as did the people around me.
“Could have done without that,” I stated aloud with a nervous smile.
My audience giggled and this nice fellow who worked there helped me pick up the cans. I believe his name was Gene, a very nice older man who probably worked there part-time to keep busy during his retirement.
Not wanting to make another attempt for a new case of caffeine, I opted to stuff the shook up cans back in their box and check out. I placed all my items in a doubled brown paper bag, less the soda, which got it’s own bag, and proceeded outside to make an attempt at reaching my car.
I was hesitant to step off of the sidewalk onto the pavement, remembering my trip on the way into the store. I made it into the lot, figuring I was safe as long as I stayed near the side of the row. I drew nearer to my car and hit the keyless entry pad, which made my taillights blink twice.
I set the bag of soda on the trunk of my car so I could open the door and right as I swung the other arm inside to set the other bag on the back seat, the paper handles let go of the bag and the entire contents of the bag went everywhere inside my car.
“F*** it.” I said (sorry Mom), adding the soda to the pile of groceries before slamming the door as hard as I could.
I have a pretty damn good sense of humor, but seriously!