Rants & ramblings of the disaffected

To Purgatory And Back In A Shopping Cart

It’s every husbands’ nightmare…my wife sends me out to the grocery store late at night to get item x…which may be something so innocuous as milk or bread, or something so sinister as feminine hygiene products of which I will refrain from elaborating as it evokes painful recollections I would sooner suppress. The latter object being the true test of love only the brave of heart dutifully endure this gauntlet of public shame with all the enthusiasm of a trip to the gallows.

Grocery stores suck the life out of me, with their dreary inner decor. The moment I enter those double glass doors that separates two dissimilar worlds, the ‘whooshing’ sound of the doors seems to extract my soul from me, like some kind of vacuum cleaner of the ectoplasmic sort. Suddenly I’m transported to another reality, a dreary place where time becomes indistinct. Maybe it’s the garish fluorescent lights that gives it its surreal quality? Maybe it’s the mind-numbing muzak piped in to mask the pervading ambience of apathy.

Lifelessly shuffling along in various states of diminished capacity as inmates of an asylum, the paltry assemblage of soulless humanity ebbs and flows along cluttered aisles amongst a peppering of dull apathetic drones they pretentiously call the employees. Meandering along endless aisles of sundry products, a cardboard and styrofoam universe of redundancy, we carefully avoid eye contact as we pass. Intrusive forms of interaction are forbidden, lest we disturb the fabric of our meager subsistence.

Weaving in and out of traffic in a shopping cart with one bad wheel that clatters and bangs along, the pursuit begins. Clank, clank, clank…my shopping cart and I wobble and clatter along, like Jacob Marley’s chains being drug behind him. Catching my reflection, I see a grotesque caricature of my former self staring back at me, minus the soul. The din of noise prevails, a cacophony of discordant noises clashing about my ears like the tide crashing the shore.

Frequently traffic is blocked by a double-wide booty obstructing a single-booty wide aisle. Carts routinely clog congested aisles as shoppers meticulously contemplate the merits of brand x, oblivious to the impasse they cause. I narrowly avoid a five-cart pile-up on aisle three.

Finally locating the sole article of my late-night quest, I reluctantly navigate to the check out to find winding lines of unimaginative patrons staring ahead blankly, waiting to advance. It’s a macabre scene not unlike the walking dead locked in a holding pattern. Racks of tasteless magazines with ludicrous titles vie for attention for a clientele suspiciously void of cerebral activity, flat-liners on an EEG. For a moment, I briefly contemplate the prospect of mugging someone as they exit the store for any product that remotely resembles the object of my quest; then tossing money at them as I sprint away with an overweight security guard in hot pursuit, dough-nut in hand.

Sir….sir?!!! the voice repeats. Numbly I manage to shred my stupor long enough to see a clerk speaking at me. It takes several attempts to breach the catatonic state I’m in. He’s saying something…his lips are moving.  “All you have is one item? Go through the business lane at the office window”. Slowly the sound begins to come in range, but the words are out of sync with his lips, like an old movie voice-over. I stare ahead blankly.

“It’s OK,” he assures me. Clank, clank, clank…my shopping cart and I wobble and clatter unceremoniously towards the direction he pointed. “Can it be true,” I ask myself? “Have I just been released from this mercantile purgatory?” Moments later I exit those double glass doors with the resultant whooshing noise, I suddenly feel my soul re-invigorating the corporeal remains of my former self.

And now you know why I cringe when asked to go to the grocery store!


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4 thoughts on “To Purgatory And Back In A Shopping Cart

  1. If Abraham Lincoln fought zombies instead of vampires I’d have suggested a time machine so you could bring him with you. Those places are truly a nightmare. Somewhere there must be a book of Bury Your Horses type games to play while waiting in line.

    Being a treehugger I tend to count how many people brought their own cloth bags with them. It makes the time go by faster. And I know it sounds sexist, but by the way always choose the line with the most number of guys. Men almost always pay in cash.

    And the feminine products? Display those with pride. It makes the World’s Best Husband t-shirt pale in comparison.

    • Thank you Amelie! Excellent comments!

      It appears many are afflicted with the same dread as I when it comes to grocery shopping. It appears Dr Who has the time travel technology locked up but I would settle for a trasnportation device for sundries. Think of the gas and time we could save. Plus, I get to keep my soul. Can you fax me a pizza?

      As always your comments are insightful and hilarious! Thanks to you, I will now wear my World’s best Husband T-shirt with pride!

  2. Gee, thanks, now I’m going to have nightmares again.

    I only shop at night – the shopping-zombies are much fewer, and the double-wide booties only seem to come out in the daytime. I stretch out the time between trips to 2-3 weeks, just to give my soul a chance to recover.

    And dang it, now I understand what that whooshing sound means…

    • I am relieved to know I’m not the only one who sees shopping as being fraught with paranormal peril. I have been harshly reprimanded for my ‘double-wide booty’ remark and am now forced to take remedial sensitivity classes. and thee whooshing noises…may explain why I act peculiar every time I return from shopping…and why I suffer form Muliple Personality Disorder…all those disembodied souls get jumbled up in the exctoplasmic reconfigurator, which explains why I never know who I am !!!

      Like the products on the aisle, my posts have been nutritionally depleted as mental nourishment and instead replaced with mono-sodium-gluta-whats-a-ma-stuff.

      Thanks Diane! You’re my hero. I hope the nightmares go away soon!

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