Sunday, April 3, 2011


I have often heard it said that one should not go to the grocery store while hungry. For me, the grocery-shopping caveat should be exhaustion. Somehow I regularly end up wandering the aisles with the attention span of a gnat and energy tank that has been sucked dry. I try to conjure recipes in my mind. I strain to remember anything that I regularly cook. And I fail.

Instead, I end up gathering miscellaneous materials to populate my fridge in hopes that I will no longer be disappointed every time I approach the kitchen with a growling stomach. I end up picking out two pieces of every type of fruit on sale, because I can’t decide which one makes the most sense. I end up running into miscellaneous displays of angel food cake and hair spray, all while trying not to run into the next person that unexpectedly stops within three feet of my cart.

I feel like I am six years old all over again, entrusted with control of the grocery cart only to blow it when I get distracted with a display of candy and run into my mom while she checks out the selection of yogurt. And then the cart is taken away.

There was no one to take the cart away from me tonight, however. I rounded corners and made impulsive decisions and continued to the check out with the goods I’d accumulated, mentally trying to concoct a dinner out of the ingredients. I kept half an eye out for a student, who would surely catch me in this lowly hour: half-asleep, half-confused, disheveled from track practice, and hair fluffy, frizzy and out of control.

This time I made it out without being spotted.

Last Friday, I was not so lucky. A student rounded the corner display of laundry detergent just as I was checking out; I ducked behind the tabloids to avoid being seen in my disheveled state. I was running the same disoriented grocery-shopping play: 9pm, exhausted, and starving.

And then, as I waited behind an older woman purchasing a large collection of frozen meals, I discovered that gathering staples at that hour has its perks: half-price rotisserie chickens. All of the sudden it didn’t matter that I was still nasty from working out after track practice, or that I hadn’t had dinner, or that I’d only had time to eat half my lunch, or that at least one of my students had seen me in this lethargic state.

I was getting one cheap chicken.

I didn’t eat a thing when I got home that night (well, except for a Samoa from the dwindling girl scout collection), but the trophy for my late night venture greeted me every morning for the next several days. I was victorious. And thankfully come Monday the student didn’t bring up the compromised teacher she’d spotted that Friday night.

It’s possible, I suppose, she didn’t even know it was me.


  1. Grocery shopping is the bane of my existence. That and the meal prep that comes along with it. I thought that when I was no longer working, I would prepare glorious, nutritious meals in addition to sending my husband off to work with a healthy sack lunch.

    Um, we had Cheerios with honey tonight... sigh.

  2. I've gone shopping in this exact same state before!! A total zombie mess for sure!