I was fine when I walked into the supermarket. I had my list. I knew we needed dishwasher tablets and margarine, as well as everything else. I’d done the journey so often, it almost feels like a safe place.
Standing in the fruit and vegetable section I had the familiar moment of indecision. Did I want lettuce or rocket? Maybe I should try kale again or perhaps some spears of asparagus? Seriously, do I have to worry about what to have for dinner every frigging night? Even my husband, the cook of the house, has grown tired of my constant questions about what to buy at the supermarket. “Just get whatever,” he says.
Each week, after a few glasses of wine, we vow to look in our cookbooks and come up with new ideas. We don’t. Sometimes I look at other people’s meal plans, but even the thought of writing out a meal plan bores me.
Fuck it, I grab the lettuce and the rocket. And throw in the asparagus spears, for some variety. Not that it’s even a new idea; we had the asparagus, dill, potato, lettuce salad last week. We’ll just do it again. Just like schnitzel.
I think I’d already lost my will to make any more decisions and I hadn’t even made it to the meat or dairy sections yet. Perhaps we’d become vegan, at least it would cut down the amount of aisles I’d have to walk down.
Slowly I made my way around the supermarket, I was kid-free so I was able to wander. Except, when I got to the bread I had to quickly grab a loaf and speed up to get away from the “aisle blocker”. You know them? They put their trolly in the most awkward spots and no matter what you do they always manage to be in your way, in every aisle. How do they do that? The only thing to do is out shop them. So I did. I wasn’t wasting my quiet time, being irritated by some stranger’s reckless trolley placement.
I finally found myself at the checkout. I’d made it. Unenthusiastically, I began to place my items on the counter. Is there any other way? I mean no matter what I put there it will always cost me way more than I think.
Each item was so useful. Toilet paper, in bulk. A selection of milk. Snack packs of chocolate chip cookies for the kids’ lunch boxes.
I stopped mid-stack. I froze, yet my heart raced. I felt a little dizzy. I calmed my brain.
When did I grow up? When did my shopping trolley become so responsible.
Then I looked down at my legs. When did I become that woman who wears workout gear to the supermarket? When did I become the woman at the supermarket, happy because I was shopping child-free and agonising over salad choices in the fresh produce aisle? When did that happen?
I used to work as a check-out chick. At the end of each shift I’d buy stuff I’d seen go through my aisle. Stuff I’d carelessly packed in bags (I didn’t care about bag placement back then, I never unpacked them). Occasionally food would catch my eye and I’d start to crave it. Normally, I’d buy Toobs, chocolate and sarsaparilla. They went well with bongs.
Now I have bulk packs of dishwasher tablets.
I took a moment. I felt overwhelmed. I’m getting older. I don’t want to. I want my kids to grow older and me to stay young to watch them. Life is so amazing, but once you reach a certain age you start to get scared. I want to be that girl buying Cheetos, worried about my chemistry test and sneaking cigarettes out my bedroom window. Not to say that being a teenager was easy. It wasn’t. It was excruciating at times. But in the blink of an eye I’ll have teenagers of my own. I don’t want to be that old.
When did I become a grown up?