The Telltale Grocery List

I stood in the checkout line at Meijer in my Ohio State Buckeye flannel pants. I was mildly embarrassed. Being a self-respecting, professional woman who’s watched a lot of What Not To Wear and How Do I Look, I usually avoid leaving my house in my pajamas. Today was different. I was exhausted and desperate. The sad part – it was only 5:30pm. I tried to shake off my shame, but as I scanned the items on the belt in front of me, I only felt more pathetic.

I had been sent to the store for another jar of Arborio rice and Parmesan cheese to top off the risotto my husband was making for dinner. That was it. On the five minute run through the store with my two kids, we managed to accumulate the following: Miracle Whip, a package of trail mix, Nutella, pretzels rods, two packs of gum, two bags of Doritos (Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese), a Monsters Inc. Pez dispenser, and a bottle of Sutter Home Moscato.

I was certain that the clerk and the woman in front of me must be judging me based on the conglomeration of items in front of me. What must my pile of impulse purchases say about me? I began to construct a list of explanations.

1.I teach middle school. It was testing week.
2. I haven’t slept much recently. I have two small children and a full-time job, and I’m writing a novel.
3. I’ve lost track of time, but I think I may have PMS.
4. Did I mention I teach middle school?
5. There is one day left before Spring Break.

The woman in front of me glanced back at me as she put her credit card back in her purse. I smiled nervously and said, “This is quite the bunch of groceries, huh? I guess I’ve been a little stressed lately.”
She smiled back and said, “You have Nutella and a bottle of wine. Looks like a good night. I’m jealous!”

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