By Cherimie Crane Weatherford
While considering a topic for my column, my focus turned towards current issues and serious conditions, such as grocery store anxiety.
My husband was the first to diagnose my unusual condition from years of observance. Seemingly an innocent locale, not many times described as producing profound effect, can and does cause my freckled skin to fluster. I find the entire process of grocery shopping quite intimidating. The shortest distant between any two points is always from A to B, unless there are 3,000 flavors of salad dressing in between.
Growing up in backwoods Mississippi, visiting the grocery store many times took a quick trip to the backyard, a run through the field and nudging the chickens out of the hen house. Life was simple, choices slim. Discerning the nutritional value was relatively easy. If the egg was cracked, or cracking, leave it be. If the corn was brown, eat the peas. If the cows had broken free from the fence yet again and left their recycled goods all over the turnips, washing and rewashing was advised. When a grocery store was needed, it was for something that couldn’t be grown, caught, raised or borrowed from Mammaw.
Just to decipher what will kill me now versus what will kill me later causes more wrinkles than I care to combat. All I need is eggs, but I find myself lost in a sea of seemingly fresh produce some of which I can’t even pronounce, enough sauces to coat a small country and boxes upon boxes of just-add-water meals. While I am reduced to a blubbering bubble of incertitude, my happy-go-lucky husband is running for mayor of the meat section. He roams the aisles with grace, smiling and making small talk while his wife can’t seem to understand the mechanics of organics. It is a source of great discussion and debate in the Weatherford household. Some people fear spiders, some fear snakes, I fear Publix. It isn’t just the death defying act of finding a parking space, the 45 variations of mayo or the (answer quickly!) question of paper or plastic, it’s the basic fact that I prefer the A to B’s of life. If I want eggs, I just want eggs, not egg whites, not egg substitute, just a darn egg. As a matter of fact, if our community guidelines would permit, I would gladly adopt several chickens, choose a well-mannered cow and live without the weekly ventures all together.
When at all possible, my husband does spare me the mental breakdown and joyfully peruses the aisles filling a buggy full of necessary items; however, not once does he spare me the jokes over my no-longer-secret infliction. Grocery stores are just not my thing. After all, every porch has a crack.
If you happen to see me wondering the aisles with a buggy with 26 dozen eggs, be kind. I’m just trying to adapt to a world that, more times than not, I find a bit overwhelming. Happy shopping, y’all.