Adventures In Grocery Shopping

28 09 2013

I’m in the grocery store a lot these days, what with two very hungry kids who show no signs of slowing down in their growth. It’s always a little alarming to go for just a few things and walk out with $300 worth of food in your cart, knowing full well you’ll be back in the store in less than a week to do it all over again.

That said, I enjoy grocery shopping. Inevitably, it’s a social experience; living in a small town, you’re bound to run into friends and family. I know most of the people who work there too, so it’s never an endeavor in silence, these forays into grocery land.

A couple weeks ago, I was meandering through the aisles when I happened upon a common experience: the Aisle Shopping Cart Traffic Jam. With a young man stocking the shelves and then a woman bending over choosing either black beans or chickpeas, with her cart left right in the middle of the aisle, I was stuck, with no way past. I waited for a few seconds, thinking she’d notice me and we’d share a smile and shuffle our way around one another, with  stereotypically Canadian apologies exchanged.

She didn’t notice me, so I said “Excuse me, would you mind moving your cart?” with a smile.

She stood, ever so slowly, with her mixed beans in hand and looked at me. Face expressionless, her eyes met mine and she reached over and moved the cart to let me by. Nary a whisper of a returned smile graced her sullen face. She glared at me in silence and I said thank you and sidled on by. I could feel her gaze drilling holes in the back of my head.

“Well, THAT was weird,” I thought to myself and shopped on.

Three aisles later, I pulled off to one side to choose some tea. No lie, folks. I followed the etiquette of shopping, leaving the left hand lane free and clear for passage. There I was, in front of my cart, when BAM, my cart slammed into the back of my leg. Not gently either.

I jumped a bit, startled and turned to see HER. Same expression on her face, by which I mean pinched grim lips and glaring eyes, morose as ever. Her hands gripping the handle of her own cart, blatantly responsible for bumping into my own. It was a stare-down in Aisle 7, ladies and gentlemen. I could almost hear that music from that old cowboy movie….

I realized that I had two options. I could channel my inner redneck and tell her off or ignore her. I chose the latter as something in me was ringing a warning bell. I think this lady was legitimately loco, and I for one wasn’t interested in any sort of epic grocery store throw down. (Although that would make for a funnier blog post, I suppose.)

Sometimes it’s just better to walk away…..

A funny not-so-little story

22 09 2013

Years ago, my sister went to Taiwan with some friends to teach English. Every now and then, they were required to go to Hong Kong to renew their visas.

Her and her friend Jess were staying in a hotel until their visas were updated. The two women entered an elevator alongside two Chinese gentlemen. Kim and her friend noticed that these two men were substantially shorter than themselves. Jess herself is 6 feet tall, I believe, and my sister is about 5’8″.

They all stood side by side, the two men glancing up and the two women glancing down. Nothing was said about this height discrepancy, as elevator etiquette tends to be world-wide. A few polite smiles were exchanged and a look was shared between Kim and Jess, as they were used to being the tallest people in the crowd during their stay in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

A few floors later, the doors opened and two basketball players of African descent entered the elevator. They stood beside Jess and Kim and the two Chinese men. Kim and Jess looked down and then up, while these two men looked down and down, and the two Chinese men looked up and up. And all at once the six of them burst into laughter. They all laughed and hooted and howled and pointed at each other, language barriers melting away as the humour of it sunk in.

The laughter lasted until the elevator ride came to an end, and the six departed on their merry ways, still wiping tears from their shared guffaws of their own unique physical attributes.