Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

I realize the following may not be “politically correct”. I’ll apologize for that right up front, and in many ways, that apology is sincere. But as you know, I am rather dedicated to showing myself to all of you, warts and all. How else can I connect with people, how else can I show everyone that we have more similarities than differences, we humans, if I don’t let you see my not so shiny side?

I can’t. So therefore it’s time for me to show you that I have my issues and shortcomings, just like everyone else on this planet.

There ought to be a law against men, shopping on their own without supervision in the grocery store. That, in my opinion, nearly qualifies as a crime against (female) humanity. But there’s a transgression that goes one step further, is even more heinous on the crime index scale. Yes, I’m talking about men, shopping on their own without supervision in the grocery store while accompanied by 1 or more children under the age of 10! Ah, my friends! Sadly, it happens more than you know it does.

Why do I feel this way? Over my years of encountering men shopping without supervision in the grocery store, I’ve discovered they can’t find anything; they can’t understand the list their wives have given them; or even how the aisles are laid out. They let the children dance or play tag in the aisles; they block the aisles with their carts right there in the middle and at a skewed angle as they wander up and down, arms akimbo, looking for tomato sour, only to suddenly realize (after another shopper looks at their list and tells them thus) that it’s not tomato sour but tomato soup they’re after! And when they suddenly notice their children are walking in front of other shoppers, causing them to stop and wait for their havoc-wreaking antics to be done, they then bribe those children with allowing them to pick out two kinds of cookies instead of one, and promising a bag of candy at the checkout counter if they’ll only behave.

Now, I have to confess that I don’t understand what the problem is—why it has to be this way. A man makes a list and goes to the hardware store…. or the car part store…or he goes to the very huge “outdoor” store, the kind that has hunting gear, fishing gear, and sports equipment. Those are a lot of stores and men seem to have no trouble navigating their way around them. They have a list, they procure the items on their list, and they head to the checkout. No fuss, no muss, no interfering with the shopping experience of others. Perhaps they have to ask someone to point the way toward something, but over all, they do quite well.

So…what seems to be the problem at the grocery store? Someone suggested to me when I asked that very question, that it was likely because the products were unfamiliar to them. To which I snarked (yes snarked wasn’t a word but it is now), what, men don’t eat? That was a ridiculous excuse my friend offered. We women all know who eats the most groceries in our households and it’s generally not the female of the species.

But no, apparently, “grocery shopping” is different, and hence the disorientation, the confusion, the tendency to de-evolve into a near-fetal state, the need to block the aisle as they search for…they know not what.

I will admit that this seems to happen mostly on the cusp of holidays. You know the kind of days I mean. Days that are close to Christmas, perhaps the Saturday before it; maybe the day of New Year’s Eve; perhaps the day before Thanksgiving; or, like this past weekend, a beautiful Saturday smack dab in the middle of a long, patriotic holiday weekend.

These are all days when you know the woman of the house is probably either at home getting ready doing what needs done in preparation of a party or dinner or barbecue of some sort, or at work with that ahead of her. In order to be able to clean the house, get the food on to cook, and do the myriad other chores that need doing to make the house “guest ready”, the woman sends the man out—and sometimes the man with the children—for a “quick” run to the grocery store—knowing full well there will be nothing quick about it!

Women, I understand your dilemma; I really do. I know the temptation is great. On such days, those errands give you the only time you get alone, the only break in a busy day to take a deep breath and get centered. So I understand how this whole, send him to the store to get the last-minute-stuff came to be.

But please, in the name of all that’s efficient, can’t you send them somewhere, anywhere else instead? To the park, maybe? Or off to get ice cream! Much healthier that than the pre-packaged cookies and candies the kids will end up with anyway.

Actually, I suppose I shouldn’t complain overly much. Men shopping on their own without supervision in the grocery store can be kind of cute, especially if I’m not in any particular hurry to get done and get home. Of course, these men jump at the chance to help their wife or girlfriend out. Even if the woman in question furrows her brow and wonders in the aftermath if this was a wise idea, or not, sending him off to get those few last minute necessities.

Aside from the very real possibility he won’t come back with the right items she needed—resulting in her either sending him back, or going there herself—there’s the whole unleashing her situationally inept male on an unsuspecting public thing that will inevitably niggle her conscience.

The only thing I can say in my defense for this flaw in my character, during this latest encounter with at least 6 unaccompanied males shopping without supervision in the grocery store last Saturday?

For once, I kept my mouth shut and thus, my snark to myself.

Love,
Morgan


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