I slid into the last spot on the furthest row hidden between two large SUVs, all to the unnecessary dismay of the bleach blond, frantic middle-aged woman behind me. She did not like the fact like I left my house 30 seconds before her, and that I was actually justified in taking that spot considering I let another car swipe my previous target with no swear words leaving my mouth. Not one.
I had prepared myself for the worst. Christmas Eve at the grocery store. Really? Is that a good idea? In most cases I would give an enthusiasitc "poor decision, Molly!" to myself as I cradled between the unripened avacadoes and tomatillos in a somewhat neglected corner of the produce section- an area I feel the most at peace with in a grocery store. However, today I decided that the Christmas spirit must prevail despite the chaos that was sure to ensue beyond those sliding glass doors. I was destined to make it in and out of the store with all the necessary items for my family gathering. And on top of that, I was going to be cheerful and calm and not overwhelmed by the mass amounts of people. I do not like mass amounts of people. Ever.
As my mom waited at home, wrapping presents that she promised she wouldn't buy for me, I attempted to survive the overly air-conditioned, flourescent lighted section of society. I walked into the store, reusable bags in hand with an air of confidence that only comes when one knows that pie and awkward family conversations await at the end of the tunnel. I picked a cart that had no sense of direction and when left alone ultimately ran into two unsuspecting customers, both of whom merely laughed and made comments about my "kamakaze cart." Little did they know that if I chose to, I could actually give them an hour long lecture on the origins and ethics of kamakaze warfare which would have dampened the mood somewhat.
My shopping list consisted of twenty or so typical food items and clear nail polish for my mom's nail emergency. As I meandered through the aisles, I weaved past husbands incessantly begging their wives for reassurance via their cell phones. One husband in particular had an uncanny ability to be one step ahead of me. Talk about awkward encounters- and unfortunately, RE-encounters. This yellow shirted, glasses wearing husband wanted condensed milk. Hmm... so did I. I turned the corner to pick up some herbs and there he was. Limeade? Yellow shirt was there too. WHY? Who buys frozen juice in the wintertime? Seriously? I thought it was only my family, but no, it is not. Thus, I attempted to glance at the items on the other side of the frozen food section to avoid the possibility that he might think I found him attractive and wanted to follow him throughout the store like a lost puppy. He took so long picking out that damned frozen juice that I even opened the door for the Strawberry Toaster Streudels- which I remember eating once or twice in middle school and loving them. I did this to throw him off his game. I wanted him to think that I didn't want the section he was leisurely gazing into. I wanted fake frozen pastries. Sucker. After about two minutes of him staring and me walking around in circles and "hmm"ing about what flavor of Toaster Streudel I did not want, this happened:
It's time you just went in. Get that frozen juice and be done with it.
Molly: Hi, excuse me. I need to get some limeade. I am making a key lime pie this evening.
Bah! Too much information! Why did you tell him that?
Yellow Shirt: Oh, okay. Go for it.
Molly: Thanks. Hmm... I can't find it. Sorry, just let... me... find it.... hmm.... it doesn't look like they have it? No limeade? That's strange. Well... sorry I'm taking so long.... I see lemonade, but not limeade. Why are you giving him a play-by-play you socially awkward shopper!?
Yellow Shirt: It's right there. Pointing at the shelf directly in front of my and eye level
Molly: Oh there it is! Of course. It's funny how that always happens!
Yellow Shirt: Mhmm.
Molly: Ok, thank you. Merry Christmas!
Yellow Shirt: What? Oh, yes, sure... Merry Christmas.
It was at this point in the shopping extravaganza that I decided do something out of the ordinary. I whipped out my iPod, put in BOTH earphones and turned on the Sufjan Stevens Christmas album. I never listen to my iPod in public. I usually feel like I'm missing out on something, or what happens if I don't hear someone warn me that something bad is about to happen? Also, I am always afraid that someone might think I am wearing one of those bluetooth ear pieces which make me cringe. But I was about at my breaking point, and desperate times call for desperate measure. Plus, the Christmas spirit must prevail! "Lo How a Rose E'er Bloom" serenaded me as I calmly walked down the aisles toward the cinnamon sticks. I hummed. I smiled. I stopped caring that the yellow shirted Scrooge was less than enthusiastic about my key lime pie. I did not mind the near collisions of carts that were occuring as I simultaneously glided through the store. I did not allow myself to cry out of frustration when the man at the herb section informed me of a great catastrophe- the cinnamon sticks for my first attempt at making mulled apple cider with rum had been bought out yesterday. They had not been restocked.
Sufjan sang and I ungracefully forced my cart toward the glorious end. As I was at the check out counter, the lady asked if I found everything and I said that had. All but my cinnamon sticks. Not ten seconds later, the herb man I spoke with earlier unexpectedly tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Last bag of cinnamon sticks. And they are only $1.50! Merry Christmas, ma'am!" The Christmas spirit prevailed!
Merry Christmas, Ya'll.