01 March 2010

Like Two Ships, Passing in the Night

I hope that if there's one thing you've learned from faithfully reading my blog, it's that the only way to go grocery shopping is in an unkempt, unshowered state of disarray. You do this, of course, because you have raced out the door as early in the morning as you can to avoid seeing anyone you know at the store. This guarantees that you will see someone you know at the store. Now, if the person you see is a good friend, you can feel free to mock that person openly and perhaps start taking things from their cart and surreptitiously moving them into your own to lessen your walk-around time at the store. However, if you barely know this person--say, an acquaintance from church who you've only had normal, polite, and very brief conversations with, and half the time you can't even remember her name, this is the person you will run into in your unshowered and hair-sticking-out-one-side state. Because of this, she will be dressed perfectly with nary a hair out of place. When you get home, you will also note with despair that you've been walking around with mascara flakes on your cheeks all morning. Perfect! Now let's shop!

I will now outline how to deal with this type of person whilst in the store:

1) Aisle the first: since she will see you first and alarm you with her presence, you will be caught off-guard to the point of being unable to recall her name until long after you've left the store. So a politely awkward "Oh! Hello...there!" will do just fine. Smile brightly as you quickly move on from one another to continue your shopping.

2) Aisle the Second: you run into Lady X yet again, and you realize with growing horror that you both are at the beginning of your shopping experience, you both move at an equal pace, and you're both shopping in the same aisles at the store. You now know that you will be seeing her in every aisle for the rest of your shopping day.

3) Skip aisles three and four in an attempt to get in a different pattern from your new shopping mate, only to note later that she's had the same brilliant idea.

4) Race through the dairy section to get ahead of her, only to nearly run over her offspring upon exiting at the yogurt wall.

5) Aisle the Fifth: Quickly formulate a reason to speak to her since it's becoming obvious you cannot avoid her to save your life, i.e., think of something to say to her, stupid. Again smile brightly, act normal for once, and say, "Soooooo...is your husband in the Army?" She seems delighted that you've saved the day, however briefly, by stabbing at the engulfing awkwardness with some attempt at regular conversation. "No, Air Force." "Oh, I see." 30 seconds of silence ensue while you realize that you failed to think of any follow-up questions to your newly invented conversation. You ask a few more fool questions before both of you tire of the made-up attempt at being friendly and you just sort of aimlessly walk away from her as she gratefully runs in the other direction.

6) See her scoot down Aisle Six, and slyly move to Aisle Seven, hoping to backtrack after she's left. When you go to turn against traffic to go to Aisle Six, be sure to ram into her cart going in the opposite direction. Apologize profusely while she assures you she's fine. Be half grateful you managed to find another excuse to say something a normal person would say, despite the fact it's becoming increasingly obvious to this woman that you're anything but normal.

7) Run to Meats, turn to see her coming, and grab as many random packaged beef products you can before she overtakes you. Run away.

8) Confident that you're now ahead of her, take your merry time down the bread aisle and make for your getaway at check-out, but not before yet again, nearly running into her on your way out. Smile ever so briefly while making as little eye-contact as possible. Her own motivation to fake a smile has vanished, and she pretends she no longer knows you. Totally fine with you.

9) Check out and run to your car. Pray for death before next Sunday.

14 comments:

elesa said...

Delightful. Hilarious. I raise my yogurt to you. I clearly don't know how not to sound like an idiot, but i love this post!

And this is exactly why I shop with one eye peeled at all times. That way I spot any acquaintances (or, worst of all, people I haven't seen since highschool) before they see me, and I can spend the rest my shopping trip carefully avoiding them and pretending I don't see them. That way I don't ever have to talk to anyone!

Bonny said...

I was laughing loudly the entire time I read this. Apparently it's a pretty universal experience.

Heidi said...

I have definitely peeked down an aisle before to make sure I am not going to run into that same person yet another time!!

it's just lisa said...

that was great. i love yous funny stuff.

Stephanie B said...

That was awesome, Abby. I think I would have gone into the frozen food section grabbed a whole bunch of frozen meals and called it a day. Truly awesome post!

Abby said...

It just occurred to me, Steph, that you are the only one who has also shopped at this grocery store. Was it a walk down memory lane for you?

Stephanie B said...

It was, I was walking those isles right with you so I say from experience that you should have gone the frozen food route - you would have saved yourself about half of those run-ins

Abby said...

Yeah, but I still needed stuff like bread and napkins and toilet paper and stuff. Frozen food can only do so much for you.

greta said...

uh, were you stalking me again? because this happens to me without fail every time i walk out of the house nasty looking. i swear you just ran a play by play of my average day.....

Jody said...

I laughed so hard reading this. Just last night, I ventured out without the kids praying that I wouldn't run into anyone I knew because of how I looked.... I guess it made my errands go faster!

judiroso said...

Yeah so I went to the store the other night looking pretty shabby and ran into one of the councilors in the Bishopric. Just as I was frantically planning an escape route he did the most humane and polite thing which is to turn away from me and act like he didn't see me.

Kleanteeth said...

I have definitely met that person at the store, but my plan is to pretend I don't know them from the beginning. That usually works unless they start talking to you when you're not looking then the plan is to get on your cell phone and pretend you're talking to somebody the whole trip.

Mama Spud said...

Abby, I agree with going the frozen food route, and as for the bread, they carry it at the Shopette across the street :)
Oh and Kleanteeth ... that works in most stores until your cell phone rings, or if the person knows that in this particular store, there is only one corner where you even get reception ... they need to fix that!

Loralee and the gang... said...

Now if it were me, I'd just act like I didn't recognize her because I forgot my glasses....and be busy reading labels if she seemed to spot me. But you are WAY! more creative!