The REAL reason I live in the Northwest: Writing Material

This evening, CLH asked me to stop off at the grocery store on the way home. He had a hankering for something sweet and NEEDED me to pick up a scone or a cookie or something. And, you see, to get this sweet thing, I had to go to this particular grocery store because they are the only grocery store around that sells sugar free sweet things. CLH does not eat sugar, you see. And since he had just gotten over a bout of flu-like body aches, and since I was feeling bad for him, I stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get him something to satisfy his honey tooth.

Now, normally I avoid this grocery store like the plague. I love organic strawberries and bulk bins full of popcorn and quinoa just as much as the next health conscious person, but i can’t stand to walk into this grocery store. It’s not the selection (which, admittedly, could be better.) It’s not the cashiers (though, for a bunch of granola crunching hippies, they can be fucking surly when they want to.) No. The reason I hate shopping there is the customers. The stand-in-the-doorway-and-marvel-at-stuff-all-around-like-fucking-four-month-olds, finicky, righteous customers. And I swear they all stand in the doorway and block it every time I go in there. Every. Last. One of them. It’s like they’ve never seen groceries before. Or they’ve all just woken up out the comas they’ve all been in for the last 46 years and they can’t understand why the automatic doors behind them keep making that sucking sound. IT’S BECAUSE YOU’RE STANDING ON THE SENSOR, JACKASS. Is there some kind of correlation between health food enthusiasts and their impossibly slow response time to stimuli? Can they not just fucking make a beeline for the carrots like the rest of us high strung gluten intolerant weirdos? Does the steady purchase of fruit and nut bars impair one’s ability to walk in a straight line with a sense of purpose or urgency or both? Is the health food inside this place lowering everyone’s blood pressure to near catatonic levels? Because, if I had to guess, I’d say everyone was operating with a pulse of about -9 over -7. Which is about the pulse of a bag of cedar shavings.

I decide that, since I’m already there, I might as well pick up a few more groceries. Which means I need to tuck my chin into my chest, firmly grip my shopping basket with one hand, and push my way through the throngs of idiots with my other arm held out in front of me like an offensive lineman. I get everything I need, then head over to the bakery section for needed non-sugared sweet thing. And, horror of horrors, they are out. No non-sugared sweet things. Plenty of vegan, evaporated can juice sweetened things. But nothing sweetened with honey or molasses or ground-up hippy bones.

I call CLH to deliver the bad news. I hardly get the words out when this lady next to me starts squawking at the young woman behind the deli case (which, lucky for me, is next to the bakery case). I can’t hear what CLH is directing me to do (what was that? You want Scottish oats instead of a cookie?) because this woman’s complaint is so ridiculous and so loud, it’s causing me to ignore CLH and listen to her instead. “Well, it’s been like this since the summer when your chef did something to the recipe. These cookies are harder than dog biscuits! I can’t serve these! I mean, feel these! (and here she bangs said cookies on the deli counter). I mean…” and here she sputters, and exhales in exasperation, and then trails off, having run out of analogies for hard cookies. I’m trying not to stare, but I’m pretty sure the deli counter woman has a look of complete and utter disinterest on her face.

I try to get back to what CLH is telling me (What? You don’t want a cookie after all? You mean I had to enter this hell just to pick up eggs I could have bought SOMEWHERE ELSE?) and eventually I head over to the checkout line. I pay, bag my stuff up in the bag I brought (See? I can care about the Earth AND hate health food store customers at the same time) and head towards the door. Which makes me break out in a cold sweat because I’m going to have to ram my way through another clusterfuck of people who haven’t yet mastered one-foot-in-front-of-the-other. And even though I have chocked my feet against the checkout stand like a sprinter in a starting block so I can run like hell, I too slow down near the door. For a moment I think I have caught the slow motion disease and I panic. But then my vision sharpens and my ears hone in on a sound. And I realize I’ve stopped dead in my tracks because I cannot believe that, after five solid minutes of complaining and banging the counter with her bag of evidence, this woman has still not run out of righteous indignation at being served harder than normal cookies.