I realized today that anxiety isn’t something new for me. While I’ve never thrown up from it before recently, I think I’ve had minor anxiety attacks before. This realization came at a place that I absolutely despise, a place where these smaller attacks have probably in the past… the grocery store.
People, in general, suck. People in public, in large groups, suck more. The grocery store has always been a source of unease for me, because I can’t stand being around the people in there. They’ll park their shopping cart in the center of the aisle, blocking traffic, while looking for whatever brand of whatever they need. They’ll push their cart at the slowest possible pace, in the center of the aisle, while gabbing on their cell phone. They’ll inevitably stop right in front of whatever it is that I need on that aisle, and make me say “Excuse me” as I reach over their cart to grab my thing. This was all stuff before the pandemic rules. Now they refuse the wear their mask. They touch everything with their plague-ridden fingers. They ignore social-distancing guidelines. It’s just a shitty place and a shitty experience all around.
Aside from the people, there’s also the store itself that I hate. I’m a creature of habit. I don’t like trying new things. When I want a replacement item for an item that is running out in the house, I’m looking for the exact same item. If my Colgate Max Fresh Cool Mint toothpaste is low, I’m going shopping for Colgate Max Fresh Cool Mint toothpaste. My problem is that there is literally a wall of myriad toothpastes to hunt through until I find it, and usually not QUITE in alphabetical order. The spice aisle is of particular concern to me because it’s also not quite alphabetical, because things are grouped by some category I have no knowledge of. (Where the fuck is liquid smoke? I even asked an old lady and she didn’t even know what liquid smoke was, so of course I’m a crazy man now.) Finally, there’s the frozen vegetables aisle…
My evening meals since she left have consisted of a grilled pork chop (from the pile of pork chops I grill at the beginning of the week, so it’s a cold pork chop 6/7 of the week) and either a third of a cucumber or a steam-pack of frozen vegetables. First, why can’t they make single-serving bags of steam vegetables? I don’t want to eat three servings of steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and I don’t want to put 2/3 of them in the fridge to eat mushy-ass leftover veggies the next two nights. I’m talking to you, Birds Eye! Recognize those of us who are cooking for one! There are dozens of us! Dozens! Serving size, though, is not a big deal to me. Whatever. I’ll eat as much of the steamed mountain of gross shit as I can and throw the rest away. The big problem is organization. More specifically, the lack of organization. Let’s talk about TJ Maxx for a second…
TJ Maxx is an American department store that usually has great deals on everything. They’re also notorious for not having their shit organized. You’re shopping for a shirt? Don’t pay attention to the little plastic rings that are supposed to sort them by size. Either they’re stocked without regard for those rings, or people just put shit back wherever. (People suck, after all.) That store is a model for chaos in action, and I hate it because… well, I like order.
The frozen steam packs of vegetables are the TJ Maxx section of the grocery store. I’m sure they’re stocked in an orderly fashion, but every customer that shops these packs must pick each individual pack up and then put it back somewhere else. It’s a chaotic wasteland of broccoli being put in the spinach box and spinach being put in the potatoes box, and nothing being put in the corn box because everyone loves corn and if they put new corn out I imagine the first person to see it buys all of it because I’ve never seen it in stock. I hate it.
I fucking hate the grocery store. But I also don’t want to pay extra for grocery delivery, and I don’t trust another person to shop for me because they’ll pick just any fucking Colgate toothpaste off the shelf and not my Colgate Max Fresh Cool Mint.
Despite that, though, I’d go to the grocery store every weekend if it was with her. I couldn’t promise not to be grumpy, because… people… but I’d go.