2017 has been all about learning to see the world through peaceful, positive eyes and to practice patience and appreciation of living in the moment. I have my essential oils, my meditation altar, my favourite healing crystals and modified yoga poses complete with breathing exercises; I have started the journey to a new, calmer me. I mean, I feel like some days I’ve really got this Zen shit down.
And then I go grocery shopping. On a Sunday afternoon. Like an idiot.
I clearly never seem to learn my lesson when it comes to certain aspects of adult life. Like the one lesson that I should never grocery shop. I mean it. I need to surrender and pass this one domestic chore off on my husband — or the dog. Who ever is brave (or stupid) enough to take it on.
In my defense, if I even have one, the last few months my grocery shopping has taken a nose dive due to a couple of fractured vertebrae, and I have only just recently started venturing out into the world of produce and feminine hygiene products with my Big Girl Panties on. Apparently this particular Sunday, I went commando.
Nothing can burst that bubble of zen and inner calm like a packed Superstore, complete with screaming babies, Nascar drivers bulldozing over anyone in search of a perfect parking spot, and of course, the entire university and its international exchange students stocking up on Ichiban and Cheezies. At first, I try my hardest to be polite. I stand and wait for the little asian lady to sniff and poke every single piece of bok choy while her husband dutifully waits for her with his buggy, right next to the mushrooms I am waiting to get to. He sees me; she sees me. They carry on with their own bizarre shopping ritual. I try to be coy as I reach for the paper bag to put my mushrooms in, reaching over the husband who is standing right in front of them. That hint still was not seen. But the best part? I stand waiting, and the little lady, finally satisfied with her bok choy selection, decides to move on to her next target, and actually pushes me aside to go through my path! Let me tell you, the old me would have lost it and probably tripped her husband, but no…..the New Me, well she just smiled and stepped back.
After that, I was narrowly run down by a first-grader running with the cart her dad so graciously allowed her to ‘drive’. When I say run down, I mean it. She was literally running full speed down the aisles, screaming and sliding sideways, running into soda displays and people, while her young dad smiled and said ‘you’re so fast Zoe!’ Again, I tried to take the high road. Buddha would be proud of me. I just said to little Shithead Zoe “wow you will make a great race car driver one day!” Shithead Zoe stared at me like I had just spoken Alien and she was not impressed that I was in her way.
Ok, on to the next aisle. At this point, I am trying to decide if I should just abandon my cart right there in the store and walk over to the liquor store. Or the bar. But no, the New Me has resolved to get through this painful exercise with a smile on her face and a calm demeanour, even if it kills her. I bravely maneuver my cart through the cereal aisle, which on a Sunday afternoon is like walking through the main gates of Disneyland with 6 toddlers and a tandem stroller during Spring Break and it’s half-price ticket day. There are kids everywhere. I mean, it’s an infestation! And carts, and buggies and moms in their Lulu Lemon’s and Starbucks double-shot soy lattes standing around chatting with each other about some goddamn Pinterest Birthday theme or something ridiculous like that. This could be an ‘alternative fact’ but at this point, my brain is beginning to implode with ‘zen’! Again, I ask ever so politely if I may get by. Nothing. I ask again. One mom looks up at me and I swear she gave me the once over; by the look on her face my blue pixie undercut, facial piercings and pink Converse are not warranting any type of reciprocal politeness on her end. She makes an attempt at moving her cart, kind of like an 80’s Air Band competition, and her child promptly blocks my way to stand on the end of her cart and bug her about the cereal.
At this point, I have begun to picture every gruesome Tarantino-style attack I could throw down upon this mom and her equally annoying child. I mean, there is bloodshed people. In my imagination, I don’t stop at kicking babies and puppies, people. There is no end to the violence in side of my head sometimes. Hence, the reason for my new zen-like attitude. Just as I imagine myself mopping up the blood of the mother with the backside of her child, they move over.
I smile, nod and mouth ‘thank you’, all of which are completely ignored.
I feel like I weathered that storm pretty well; I did have some violent fantasies, but it’s not like I ACTED on them. This in itself, is a pretty big victory for me. That liquor store is looking mighty fine.
After a few more close-calls with visiting grandmas in the toilet paper aisle and the obtrusive line up of people waiting for some food sample, I make it to the check out. I can see the end of the tunnel, people, and I’m almost gleeful. If it wasn’t for my screaming back pain and my increasing thirst for something that tastes an awful lot like vodka, I might have broken out in a quick little song and dance number while I waited in line.
And I waited in that line. Realizing I am an impatient person to begin with, and that one of my new goals in life is to learn how to actually be patient, I did a quick breathing exercise and attempted to focus my attention elsewhere. I pretended to enjoy being in the moment like I’m supposed to. And I waited. Apparently the lady at the till decided she did not want to pay an extra 11 cents for the bacon that she swore was advertised as way cheaper in the flyer, and the cashier had to grab said flyer and call the manager and price check somewhere on Mars for this particular brand of bacon….while the rest of us waited. I figured she would at least pretend to apologize for holding up the line, but nope, she just berated the cashier and the teenage assistant manager and decided to pass on the bacon all together. If I was close enough I would have picked up that package of bacon and hit her with it.
I finally get through paying and bagging my groceries and at this point, struggling with my inner peace and my lack of vodka, I bust it quick to my vehicle. Just as I am about to approach my truck I realize a speeding Prius is about a foot away from ramming me and my cart. I finally cave as my inner peace has now been crushed by my scathing hatred for both the Prius and the chick at the driver’s wheel who is talking on her phone, rather than driving that stupid Prius. I let go of my cart and scream, “Hey you! Cut butter bitch!” I don’t even know what that means, but I was hungry. Another broken cardinal rule of grocery shopping right there.
The Prius Bitch barely noticed as she sped along, and I learned some valuable lessons in my new adventures with inner peace and zen-like patience. I learned that I absolutely will let my husband do the grocery shopping. And that ZEN actually means VODKA. In my world, anyways.