A trip to the grocery store

Barbara’s all hell-bent on making chicken burgers tonight. Mmm, yummy I think. She makes out a list of things we need to get: fresh mint and cilantro, buns and ground chicken.

“Ground chicken?” I ask. “Are you insane? Nobody sells ground chicken. Why don’t you make the burger with a filet of chicken, instead?”

Barbara looks helplessly from her cookbook, to the small piece of paper she was writing on, to me. “Well… that’s what the recipe calls for.” She checks the book again. “See, ground chicken.”

I blow air out of my mouth. “Yeah, well, good luck. Come on, let’s go to the store. Let’s go and get some ground chicken.” I laugh under my breath.

We drive over. First, we hit the produce department. Barbara starts filling up a clear plastic bag with mint.

“Whoa, take it easy there.”

“Hmn?” she asks, still grabbing fistfuls of mint.

“Dude, how much mint do you need for this recipe?”

She ignores me and grabs a bundle of cilantro. Before shoving it into a plastic bag as well, she presses her face into it and inhales deeply.

“Ahhh,” she sighs. “I think if the color ‘green’ were a smell, it would smell like cilantro.”

“… Okay.”

“I mean,” she looks up at the store’s ceiling, trying to find the right words. “Cilantro smells like the color green.”

“Hey listen, did you smoke a joint on the way over here that I didn’t see?”

We next move to the meat department. As soon as we get there, a young dude on the other side of the counter asks what he can get us. I’m trying to stifle my snickers has Barbara asks-

“Yes. Could I please have one pound of ground chicken?” The kid moves but then stops once he fully digests what she’s just said.

“Ground chicken?” he asks.

I jump in. “Don’t be stupid, Barbara. Ground chicken.” I roll my eyes and wink at the young butcher to let him know my sister’s simple-minded and nothing she says should be taken seriously. Then I tilt my head to the side and (just to fuck with him) ask “Do you have any quail?”

“Qu… quail?” He’s starting to sweat. I’m sure he thinking that we’re going to ask for rabbit or ground squirrel next.

“I’m just kidding,” I wave my hand. “But we would like a pound of ground turkey.” Barbara has her face pressed to the meat display’s glass, searching in vain for ground chicken.

“Ground turkey,” the kid breathes, relieved. “Sure.” He moves to the tray where the ground turkey is supposed to be and sees that it’s empty. “Uh… we- we’re all out of ground turkey. But there’s some pre-packaged in the refrigerator around the corner.”

I thank him and drag Barbara away. We select a package of lean ground turkey. Barbara makes for the bread while I head for the beer.

Beer. Beer. What kind of beer to get. I made a major mistake a couple weeks ago. I got an Otter Creek variety pack just because it said one of the varieties was a ‘current seasonal.’ Now, I thought the box said it came with a ‘currant seasonal’ and I’m thinking: Mmmmmmm, I LOVE currant flavored beer. So I get home, start transferring the bottles from the box to the fridge and I’m reading the labels as I go: Old Man Ale… Black 47 Stout…Amber Ale… Amber Ale… IPA… wait. I thought this box only came with four varieties. Amber Ale, Old Man Ale, IPA, IPA… finally, the box is empty and I want my money back. I didn’t see any ‘currant’ flavored ‘seasonal’ beer. This is an outrage! This is- I take another look at the box and see that I’ve read it wrong. Ugh! I’m so STUpid!

Now I’ve got it in my head that I want a currant flavored beer. Since the coop doesn’t seem to have that, I pick up a six-pack of Pete’s Wicked Strawberry Blond. This beer makes me feel like high-schooler, but whatever.

I find Barbara over by the cheese. “No more blue cheese!” I scream.

Shoppers scatter as I stomp towards her. I am so sick of her blue cheese fetish. I recently told her that blue cheese on a cracker drizzled with a little bit of honey was meant to be really nice. Now, it’s all she wants to eat. I don’t mind a mild blue cheese but the stuff she gets snaps your head back. She grabs a wedge and we head for the check-out isles.

A small white boy with the largest afro I’ve ever seen starts lazily dragging our items across the scanner. He asks for my ID when he gets to the beer and as he’s typing it into the register, this isle’s bag boy says to him, “Hey, Mark. My dad just bought a new jet.”

I frown a little and turn my head to look at Mark, who looks at the bag boy and just shakes his head with a slight smile. I smile as well and turn back to the bag boy.

He then says, “Mumble jumble something limo.”

He stares at me, expectantly, grinning like an idiot. I look from him to Mark and back again. It crosses my mind that this kid might be mildly retarded.

He talks to me some more, rapidly and quietly, but I can only make out 30% of that he’s saying as Barbara and Mark are busy taking care of the money transfer. The gist of what he told me, though, is that he’s not mentally challenged and that he and Mark like to mess around with the really rich people that come into the coop to shop. Hanover is littered with wealthy, PhD, neurosurgeon snobs. Bag Boy talks about his daddy’s new Lear jet (lie), Mark talks about his weekend trip to the Azores (another lie) and the rich people, as most rich people will, start bragging about their yachts, Bentleys and gardeners. I believe Bag Boy told me all this because I look poor enough to find it funny as well.

I smile, grab our bags and make for the exit as Barbara’s asking, “What were you and that kid talking about?”

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