|Wednesday, February 29, 2012|
By BECKY ANDREWS
It seems like it happens at least once a year. In the middle of gro ery shopping, I find myself in the greeting card isle. On most of the ‘food store’ trips, while passing this section I’ll do a quick mental check list of all birthdays, anniversaries, christenings, and graduations, to make sure I don’t have an immediate need before moving on to the freezer section. I don’t know why. It’s like a strange magnetic force that pulls me in. Before long, I can’t get enough of cut down poster board with kitschy jokes at a cost of nearly 5 dollars each.So it’s no surprise that on this trip, I again found myself scanning the card section because one caught my eye. It was a quirky, chunky shaped little ditty with an odd punch line. In short, it was the greeting card version of me. And that lead to picking up another, and another, and another. It wasn’t long before, I had cards for each of my sisters, brothers, 3 college roommates, and a get well card for my dad’s neighbor, who I’d only met once, but knew well enough to realize she’d get a chuckle out of ‘Mildred’s’ latest escapade.
I couldn’t stop there. The get well section was a scream. These cards were filled with line after line of bizarre dialogue. I pulled out my phone and started scanning my friends list on Facebook to see if anyone was sick or could use a pick me up. When I got to the C’s, my husband called.
“Hey! What’s the name of your first college roommate’s mom? I heard she just had knee surgery. Do they still live in town?” Silence… Then finally, he replied, “I have no idea who you are talking about. Just wanted to remind you not to forget toilet paper.” Of course! Looking in the buggy, it was clear my priorities were off… A pair of trouser socks, an incredible shade of lip liner, a half-price bag of kit-kats, the latest issue of People and 11 greeting cards. What kind of mother was I? Granted I had only made it down the non-perishables isle, but still.
This display in my cart is why I hate running into people I know at the grocery. Just last week an acquaintance stopped to chat while we were both in the dairy section. For some reason, I felt the need to explain away why I have 5 boxes of cosmic brownies, microwave popcorn, milk duds and a frozen pizza. Because I don’t have a single fresh vegetable or fruit or any re-usable grocery bags, I start to panic. So I start making nervous conversation to distract her from noticing all the empty calories.
“I’m just running a few errands for my sister. She’s got PMS. Not that she’s mean. Just an emotional eater. I mean she doesn’t have a stability problem. You know how PMS can be. She’s not crazy, seriously.” Right before I say, “So what if all this stuff is for me? What if I decide to treat my children to a few unhealthy snacks? Who are you to judge me!” she gets a call and excuses herself from this very awkward exchange and I’m sure proceeds to tell the caller what a nut I am.
Before anyone could see the sad display sitting in my buggy, I put back all the cards, kit-kats, socks and People. I replace them with a jumbo pack of toilet paper, 3 reusable bags and a copy of Us Weekly. It’s called priorities, people! Speaking of, people, this is the Oscar issue, I should get it for research.