Saturday, March 14, 2009

Nora gives her power away in the *(&^ grocery store

Do you ever do this? I'm in the grocery store and up ahead of me I see someone I know from work. Not that I DISLIKE her--I dislike very few people for real life. But not someone I want to spend my precious Saturday chitchatting in the grocery store with. And she, I suspect, would tend to chitchat in the store for way longer than I would.

Maybe it was her bright green pants (color changed to protect the innocent) that made me do it. Or maybe it was the death rattle of my own almost-not-quite-yet peace with stepping away from the power career track for now. But at any rate, I saw the pants and thought, that looks like whatshername, no, it is her. It IS. And I darted down the first aisle I could. Narrowly avoiding a surprise meeting.

And don't you know, that lands me right in the beer/nut/popcorn/snack aisle. So I buy some pretzels, because I'm from Pennsylvania and that's what we do. I look in my cart--organic eggs, asparagus, fruit, oh and the PRETZELS and I figure my cart is respectable enough for her in case I did have to talk with her. Thank heavens my house is full of Girl Scout Cookies so I can look all virtuous and self-controlled. Except oh! My cat food is not organic or expensive. Crap! Oh well. I dither around for a minute in the beer and then I resume my trolling around the store--aren't we all so obedient that we all take the same route through the store? Just as I'm SURE that I'm in the clear, I see her up ahead AGAIN! Perusing the cheese.

Here a grownup person might have just said hello and got it the hell over with, but NO. I dash away AGAIN. This time to the far end of the store (toys!) and pick out a toy loader for Hugo, because there sure aren't enough damn loaders in our house. It's now the BAD FRIEND LOADER, that's what it is.

Meanwhile I have tramped all over the stupid store OUT OF ORDER, buying things I don't need, handing over the whole place to this perfectly nice person for her shopping pleasure, wasting my precious time slinking around in the back aisles.

And then the guilt starts. What if I could have made her day by just saying hello? What if she SAW me dodging her? What if--OH MY GOODNESS--she was avoiding ME? And then who else has avoided me in the grocery store? WHO? Am I a pariah? Is that why I don't see people I know in the grocery store very often? They are all fleeing?

New proof that I am a bad person, the end.

19 comments:

Professor J said...

Not bad. Just human.

smalltownmom said...

I live in a really small town, so I usually see someone I know. Usually a "HiHowAreYou" will do fine, while still keeping the cart moving. (I hate getting out of order in the store! Or having to start on the wrong side.)

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I suspected my mother had another child she didn't tell us about. Helloooooooo Sister!

The Finely Tuned Woman said...

I do the same thing myself and I don't even know anyone I could even remotely meet at the supermarket. It's all a bit of paranoia, I say.

Noelle said...

Ack! I totally do stuff like this all the time AND was recently talking to someone about it. Usually for me it's the people I kinda-sorta know, but not well enough to fake my way through a "HiHowAreYou" conversation. Or maybe I could, but this shy little 8 year old deep within me takes over and I'm reminded of boisterous aunts, uncles and cousins asking me if "cat-got-my-tongue." But who knows what happens in that slight moment of recognition - chances are the other person is actually doing the same thing to me. And I'll walk the long way around a block, or stare off in the distance trying to pretend I'm lost in thought.

Oh, and another thing - it depends on my own confidence-for-the-day. If I just finished a workout, or didn't yet shower, or didn't feel like putting on "real" clothes and am in sweats with dog hair on them - then I'm way less likely to want to interact with anyone. But if I feel "cute" - then I'll talk it up with anything and anyone.

Grounded Girl said...

I totally do this too. I went to a movie a few weeks ago- it was a special film festival showing of a documentary about a children's TV show that was near and dear to my heart. Who should be waiting in line but two former colleagues from the Hell School. It's been four years since I taught there but I recognized them right away. I told myself that there is no way they would remember me, but I hid behind a corner anyway and then hung back in line so I could grab a seat nowhere near them. Oh yes. You are hardly alone, Nora Bee. LOVE YOU!

Mac and Cheese said...

I've avoided people who I do like, just because I can't handle small talk when I'm not psyched up for it.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You would have to run from me in the grocery store--I say "hi" to everyone. I totally get where you're coming from though.

planetnomad said...

I love this! I totally do this and I can't figure out why. I'm social. I'm adjusted. Why do I avoid people in the grocery store? But I do.

All Adither said...

Oh, we are soul sisters.

meg said...

I'm still having trouble understanding beer in a grocery store. You're not in Pennsylvania any more, Dorothy!

susan@improvamama said...

oh how I relate to this! there is something about the grocery store that brings out the urge to flee I've been known to ditch the groceries just to get away...fortunately, at least up to now, I've remembered to keep the child)

Mama Goose said...

Nope. I've NEVER done this. Right.

Angie said...

And here I thought I was the only weirdo that did this sort of thing:) Just did it last week, as a matter of fact....

g said...

This is hilarious! I've done that!

phd in yogurtry said...

There's something slightly awkward about bumping into someone at the grocery, someone you really wouldn't have a conversation with otherwise. And then there is the "haha, we shop at the same store" small talk that is intolerable. So for many reasons, most of them not as rational as just mentioned, avoidance is practiced by me as well.

racheld said...

Ahhhh, Nora!!! Another of your perfectly constructed, perfectly understandable forays into the foibles of . . .

BAD FRIEND LOADER---is that like Bad Baby Pie?

I've done the dodge 'em with various folks over the years, and never because of dislike or dread or embarrassment, but because I just didn't want to bother right then. And that, too, is understandable, but sorta cowardly in a sneaky kind of way.

You DID, however, not disappoint---I was all primed for you to say that you blithely tossed in some tofu and organic arugula and a ransom's worth of truffles (which you'd return to their proper places later, I'm sure) just to impress her (or live up to whatever standard you think she has, to dither you so).

says rachel, who once abandoned her cart and fled to her car, after being pursued by a friend's very talkative husband who followed for four aisles, describing his hemorrhoid surgery

You got off light, Hon.

Dawn in Austin said...

I often comment that I never seem to run into people I know in the store. Is it because I don't know anyone? Have no friends, different shopping experiences? However, the minute I do see someone I know in the store, I'm am off like a flash down the ethnic aisle in an attempt to hit the back corner before I am seen. I'm not good at idle chit chat in the store.

JCK said...

So...how long were you in the store?