The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Friday, October 13, 2006

Brocolli Wockolli

By Patricia Parkinson

Written after talking to a friend on my cell phone while grocery shopping.

Today we talked on the phone while I did my grocery shopping. I felt like you were with me, walking next to me. If we really were together, I think I'd keep bumping into your heels with my cart. I have a feeling you're one to stop in the middle of an aisle when something catches your eye, while I, I am the type of shopper that likes to centralize my buggy between various departments eliminating the need to push it altogether. I like to stroll and pose and touch things and pretend I'm at Saks 5th Ave. or Tiffany's and I'm really not Patricia Parkinson, I'm Audrey Hepburn. This is my grocery shopping style.

The only draw back to this style, are the times, all the time actually, when I forget which department I left the cart in. Panic hits. Did I leave it in the feminine hygene aisle? No, I wouldn't leave it there. At age forty-five, the fear of running into a cute guy while holding a box of kotex pads remains. It could however, be in the meat department. There's something about hanging out with raw meat that's very primal. I poke at my meat. Sometimes I break the plastic wrap and get blood on my finger which brings on panic of the ecoli variety, and yet, there's nothing like mixing hamburger with my bare hands - hamburger and raw eggs - The feeling of the cold meat squishy between my fingers forming it into a meatloaf or rolling it between my palms into balls. It's likely my buggy could be found in the meat section.

On occasion when I lose track of my grocery cart and it's no where to be found and I've drifted off course to the far end of the deli section where dolmades float in extra virgin olive oil and I realise I've drifted far past the allowable time of leaving my cart unattended and now a stock boy is ununpacking what has taken me what seems like forever to find back onto the shelves meaning I have to start shopping all over again. I will have to decide, Corn Pops or Froot Loops? Ragu or Classico? Sweet Basil or Red Wine? Crowns, or Brocolli Wockly? The thought of having to do it all over again is to much for a woman nearing menopause to take.

And then I think when I'm standing there, carrying three jugs of milk with my purse strap threatening to slip past the bone at the end of my shoulder, that I do these things on purpose, I create this panic, and then I think, PP, you lead an awfully boring life where the only excitement you get is the thought of having to re-grocery shop.

I needed to change my shopping style and talking to you today, having to pause and not butt up against your heels, but stop and look at the food, maybe buy a papaya or a bag of lentils. Next week, I'll call from the new Safeway. They have a great deli, fabulous rice salad and a Starbucks, which, well, is odd since everyone knows it's impossible to push a buggy with one hand and drink a coffee with the other unless you have the worlds perfect buggy, of which there are none. So, I have to get my coffee at the end of the trip when I have raw meat and cold cuts which does not fit into the implanted vision of drinking coffee outside at one of those tables with uneven legs, pretending I'm her, Aud, as I prefer to call her, Aud, it fits don't you think?. So, if I call you from this store, I can only buy non parishables, unless, well, bananas would be okay, and I'll sit outside at a table looking over the parking lot while talking to you on the phone, like we're really together, and I'll try to remember where I parked my car.


Blogger Nance Knauer said...

well, you got me. strolling down the aisles with PP/Aud and i'm laughing and then all this sadness and longing. a lovely morning read.

Sat Oct 14, 09:30:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

Nice, PP, though I can hardly relate. I move so quickly through the grocery store, my cart leaves skid marks when I turn into a new aisle. Good thing about moving fast is the kids don't have time to spot the goodies. And I hate picking cereal. It's my least favorite thing to do. If it was up to me, we'd buy corn flakes. Lovely post, PP/Aud, as Nance calls you.

Sat Oct 14, 10:31:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

HIII!!! it's overcast here today, thank you so much for reaading, have an amazing day..xoox

Sat Oct 14, 01:02:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

I just hate grocery shopping. I don't understand the shelving logic at all and spend most of the trip asking where things are. I abandon my cart, too, in favour of roaming rather than getting stuck behind someone trying to find the cheapest brand of whatever. What's more,I'm slowing down and can see myself turning into the little old lady everyone hates to be behind in the check-out line, the one who can't get coins out of her purse easily, who can't hear the checker ask if she wants paper or get the picture. When faced with the prospect of a trip to the store, these days, I'm inclined to scour our cabinets and freezer for anything -- anything! -- we can eat so I can put it off one more day.

Good for you, Patricia, making it as enjoyable as possible for yourself.

Sat Oct 14, 11:03:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

The grocery store is the only place I spend money freely. It's MY shopping trip - how sad is that?

The post is beautiful PP!

Sat Oct 14, 11:17:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

Oh Tricia, I can sooo relate to what you say, I have a costco lasagna defrosting on my counter, dug out from the depths. I'm a bit of food collector, I have enormous amounts of "stock" it's bizarre...I want to have a girls night, or cooking day, each of us make a dish we can freeze and trade off, stock up some more.

and Jen

isn't it unreal how much your grocery bill is??? I have to make more economical meals, but I opt out lots for premade stuff, ie, lasagna, due to time...and time...and...well..time. thanks for reading ladies.xoxo

Sun Oct 15, 01:30:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

You're a riot, PP. I do my 'I'm Aud' impression when I'm window shopping at Holt Renfrew or at Birks not-buying things. But I must confess, I am rather fond of grocery shopping. I don't shop at big stores, but prefer to stroll down Commercial Drive, or through Granville Island (on a quiet day) and gather up oddities (aud-ities?) to try. Ah, the life of the single girl. except I'm picking up foodstuffs destined to sit unopened on my shelves for ages ;)

Sun Oct 15, 01:31:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

that's the best kind of shopping, groovy little specialty shops, I still have yet to get to that store on Pacific, near the garage, higher end specialty stuff, and I love, love going to granville island, and look!!! our rain has come..xoxo

Sun Oct 15, 02:54:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger craig said...

you're a great storyteller Patricia - you had me right there in the veggie aisle.
(BTW have you read Updike's "A and P"? Greatest grocery store story ever).

My wife and I grocery shop together and call it a date.
Our Safeway also has a Starbucks, and get this, CUP HOLDERS on the carts!
Such is civilization.

Wed Oct 18, 12:42:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

Thanks Craig, cup holders!!! I'm moving to Winnipeg!!! and yes, make shopping a date, we end up spending tons of money when we shop together or argue over generic brands....lololol...thanks Craig..xoxo

Wed Oct 18, 02:05:00 pm GMT-4  

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