Desperation grocery shopping
Posted: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 8:01 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt
Do you need a gallon of milk? Come by our house. We have two gallons in the refrigerator and we don’t even drink milk. Do you need a peanut butter sandwich? We’re prepared. Two jars of peanut butter. Two loaves of bread. We’re good Southerners. The minute the weatherman predicted snow, I raced out to the store and bought a bunch of stuff we don’t eat or drink. It’s called “winter weather preparedness.” If 10-foot snow drifts were to overtake all the doors of our home and cut us off completely from the outside world, we could now live forever. We’re prepared. And we’re proud of that fact.
But desperation grocery shopping goes beyond normal preparedness. I know. I was at the grocery store with all of you last week. Oh, and don’t think I didn’t see you there. I saw you. Right there in the dairy aisle hoarding and pawing at the milk cartons like a half-starved lioness circling her prey. Truthfully, most of us were doing radical and ridiculous things ... things we’re not proud of. I saw a woman on the cereal aisle stocking up on granola bars and I jumped in head first ... even though we don’t eat granola bars. What? You wanna know why I bought three boxes? Isn’t it obvious? Desperation grocery shopping is based solely on irrational fear, my friend. What if, in the middle of the night, we had to venture out into the snowy cold blizzard with only the clothes on our backs and only the portable food that could fit into our pockets? Precisely. What could a box of Cream of Wheat do for us in that situation? Absolutely nothing. Only those with the individually-wrapped granola bars would survive.
After spending the boys’ college fund at the grocery store, we bedded down for the winter. Eleven bottles of propane. Two portable heaters. A Coleman stove. Eighteen flashlights and two weather radios. We were like high-tech hibernating bears preparing to come out only in early spring. The boys asked to stay up late, seeing as how the winter storm was going to eliminate all possibility of school attendance. We gave them an extra 30 minutes and told them to drink some milk. Protein and Vitamin D would help them continue to develop and grow through the sunless period of snowy hibernation.
We were shocked the morning after our first grocery store preparedness drill. Nothing. Nothing on the driveway. Nothing in the yard. The weathermen had been utterly and completely wrong. When we woke the boys for school, it was as though a trip to Disneyworld had been canceled. It was like Christmas Day with no presents and not even an orange or an apple.
“What do you mean we’re going to school, Mom? We’re supposed to be home today. It was gonna snow really hard and make the roads really yucky. We were gonna eat granola bars and peanut butter from the jar. Now, you’re saying we have to do math?”
“I’m afraid so, Son. I’m afraid so. It’s a shocking and painful blow for all of us. No one is more disappointed than I am. We have enough Velveeta cheese to feed East Dresden for the next two weeks. I’m really sorry about your having to go to school today. But I have some maternal wisdom that will make it all better. Drink a huge glass of milk and try to be strong.”
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her Web site lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.13.10
Lisa Smartt, The Smartt View