Have you ever run to the supermarket on a Monday evening? There’s only one reason you do this: your fridge and pantry are as barren as a spinster’s vag. I looked like shit, the kind of shit where I would have had rollers in my hair with one of those silk scarves over it, had it been the fifties. I had my shopping list in hand, and knowing Shop Rite’s layout well, I planned to swiftly make my way down a well-choreographed path, going straight to the products I needed. Bananas, yes; romaine lettuce, um hm; salt and vinegar chips for Daughter 2, right in the cart. What I didn’t plan on, however, was running into Monica in the refrigeration aisle. It’s a good thing it’s winter coat season, because normally that aisle makes your nipples stand at full salute.
By the grace of the spirit of my father, I saw Monica before she saw me. I just wasn’t in the mood to do the whole, how-are-the-kids bullshit. So, I did the preoccupied thing, where I was doing the lean-in and looking at a product intensely. It worked. A few minutes later, though, we were both in the freezer aisle. (Again, I was grateful for the down-insulated breasts.) She was way too close this time, so I said, “Hey, Loretta!” I wasn’t being friendly due to proximity only; I was saying hello, because I knew that she had noticed me and pretended not to. So, I was going to nail her for that, and I did. Shit, she couldn’t get away from me fast enough. She literally turned her cart when I was mid-sentence. If that cart could have burned rubber, it would have. Well, I won’t be inviting her to my canasta game anytime soon. Good thing I don’t play canasta.
I mastered those aisles like a debt-ridden contestant in that Supermarket Sweep show. I then was checked out by a sweet man with a repaired hairlip, who always looks like he’s smiling. He did a great job until he bagged my bananas alone. Come on, you can’t waste a bag for one product—you shove that last product on the top of one of the packed bags. I thanked him then made my way to the parking lot.
When I emerged from the store, I made a quick left, and BAM, there was Phoebe. Shit! We actually both didn’t pretend not to see each other this time. We kissed hello and did the whole how-have-you-been and are-you-still-with-the-boyfriend dance. I’ve known Phoebe since I’m a kid, because she was close friends with my aunt. When we finally finished our banter, I realized she hadn’t asked me at all about my aunt, who is very sick and struggling right now. But, I guess she had Hot Pockets on her mind.
Finally, I was almost at my car. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Rachel. I swear it was like trying to sidestep landmines. I simply wanted to enter, grab my dinner and exit. Instead I had to tap into my acting skills again and try hard not to lock eyes with anyone or anything. I’m pretty sure Rachel saw me, and she kept on walking. I did the same thing. I mean, the only time Rachel and I talked was at a party after a few vodkas anyway. We never had much to say to each other at school pickup.
The moral of the story here is this: If it’s a Monday night, order a fucking pizza.
I have no idea why I chose Friends characters for the false names of the women at the supermarket. These women are nothing like these characters. If they were, I would have happily engaged with them.
I dedicate this blog to my sick aunt. May her mind be calm in a very scary time in her life, and may her journey last a lot longer.
*All names have been changed.
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