OK, so I just got back from the Kroger where I, under the terrible sway of Christian peer pressure causing a wretched relapse into approval addiction, attempted to get the ingredients (I hate that word) for an impressive (so-easy-anybody-can-do-it!) recipe. I not only want y’all to like me (y’all nearly killed me this week). I want Melissa to like me. And right now she likes cooking. Hence, my trip to the grocery store. Here are just a few of the things that happened to me while I was there:
1. The recipe was, of all things, in a Bible study (is nothing sacred?? The Bible study I’m taking is another story and something I’ll tell you about soon. Now is not the time. I’m too traumatized). SO, rather than copy the recipe on a shopping list (who has time for that?) I had the Bible study propped open in the grocery basket, pushing it around and staring at it all bug-eyed like I was in a nervous trance. A little while later I realized that several people were staring at me (the butcher, for one, watches on Wednesdays) and, as if those people don’t think I’m a big enough freak, they now think I can’t even go to the grocery store without doing Bible study. Deep sigh.
2. I’ve never bought a sun-dried tomato in my life and couldn’t find them for the life of me. I finally called my friend, April, who happens to be friends with the person who wrote the recipe and tried to enlist her able assistance. She produces music videos and was currently wrapping up a shoot with Miley Cyrus, to which I said, “Miley Schmiley! I’m cooking here! Get off your Hillary Duff and help me!” She did. I finally rounded up seven varieties of sun-dried tomatoes and ended up so confused that I bought all of them just in case.
3. I got so nervous and undone that I began perspiring and inexplicably felt compelled to do that thing the woman used to do on Saturday Night Live when she’d put her fingers under her arms. (No, I didn’t do it but I wanted to. And, no, I don’t watch it. I only know that scene by hearsay. I have a close relative who will remain unnamed that used to imitate her doing that under-arm thing to make me laugh. Well, every now and again I sometimes watch that “Best of SNL” show during prime time but I hold the remote control in my hand and prepare on an instant’s notice to push mute. I’m sorry. I talk too much when I feel compulsive.)
4. I then got so baffled at my own ignorant self that I started laughing out loud which, added to the Bible study open in my basket, made people nervously stand back and offer me full sway of the pickle aisle. (I was there looking for chopped black olives)
5. I bought my first Romano Cheese of my whole life. I then bought three containers of feta cheese because I didn’t know how much was enough. I then bought two jars of pine nuts because April said they’re easy to burn and I’m easy to burn things. They were a stinking fortune. A pine nut! A PINE NUT!
6. After spending an hour in the grocery store getting things I’ve never gotten in my life (pepper corns, for instance), I sped recklessly though the frozen goods and grabbed a package of Skinny Cows. Clutching them in my arms, I took a cleansing breath, reaching deep within for someone I thought I knew.
7. As if I hadn’t been through enough, an old man then flirted with me in the check-out line. Mind you, I don’t care to be flirted with by anyone but my man but this nearly put me over the edge. He had white hair and his golf shirt was tucked into a pair of sky-high-waisted blue-jean shorts which were accessorized with a leather belt that could have stood to be one notch looser. (Where was his wife when he left the house?) I think he had on dark socks and light tennis shoes but I was scared to confirm my suspicions with a stare. And all the while, he would not quit talking to me. The worst part is that I think he thought we were the same age. And I had flat-ironed my hair, for crying out loud! Where has he been? The experience was so troubling that I’m probably going to have to take something tonight to sleep. I’ve never been more thankful for my man.
8. To top it off, my checker rang me up at a whopping $168.76. Are you kidding me????? I was so upset that I almost left my Bible study in the cart. A startling thought that sent a shock-wave of adrenalin through me because I’ve written some private stuff in those blanks that I’m not ready for the Wednesday-watching butcher to get hold of! A woman’s Bible study is sacred! And there’s enough material in there for a whole season of “All My Children.”
9. By the time I got my groceries into my car, I was almost too exhausted to take my cart to the “Return cart here please” section. Alas, I did roll my weary self over there. After all, I’m a rule keeper.
It was a terrifying trip but then God did the nicest thing in the world to take the bitter edge off. I called Melissa to tell her that I’d gotten all my groceries for a new recipe so she’d be all proud of me and, before I could tell her, she said (brace yourself now because this is really good. The climactic part of this blog entry really), “Hi, Mom!”
“Watcha doing, Baby?” (Small talk before trying to impress her. Telling myself not to be too anxious.)
“I’m studying my Greek.”
I was awash with emotion.
God is better than He has to be.
PS. Making dish now. Wasn’t Al Dente the name of a Christian contemporary artist back in the 80’s?