Comedic relief from the aisles

By Steve Estes

Strictly Drivel by Steve Estes

Now that we have a temporary male teenager in the house, as well as our six-year old grandson/son, and another young foster child of the male persuasion, we go through more groceries than I would have thought imaginable.

That equates to more stops at the local grocery store in a month than I like.

You see, we can’t just dash in and out of the store for a few things. Even a gallon of milk takes an hour after we stop and visit with al the people we run into that we know, or know us, and the kids we run into that know our kids.

A full-blown shopping trip can take two hours, so we make sure we get the frozen stuff last.

But more regular jaunts to the grocery store also provide me with some really great comic relief.

For instance, during our last foray into the dreaded world of the supermarket, I was in a checkout line behind a lady with seven items in her cart. I don’t know what to think about those seven items. I can’t think of any use for those items other than one whale of a party somewhere.

She had four bottles of wine and three 12-packs of seltzer water. The only thing I know of that particular combination can be used for is wine spritzers. I don’t drink them myself, but I do know the combination to create them.

This lady was going to be a ball of fun if her plans were to have that entire menu that evening. Or she was going to spend an inordinate amount of time praying to the porcelain god later that evening.

But that episode was actually just curious. What really made me laugh (just to myself because I don’t want the whole world to know that I’m crazy…it’s a not-well-kept secret) was the obvious out-of-towner in the soft drinks aisle.

Holly and I get separated a lot in the grocery store as first one then the other will be stopped by someone, large or small, for a brief conversation, or instead of traversing every aisle, we take turns hitting the specific item while the cart proceeds to the next aisle where mass purchases must take place.

It was on one side jaunt that I ran into a couple perusing the soft drink aisle and the bottled water aisle.

Nothing unusual in that.

Nothing unusual either in the fact that most of the crowd was wearing long pants and long sleeves and closed toe shoes because the weather was a bit nippy at near 70 degrees but these folks were wearing shorts and tank tops with open-toed shoes, she in the requisite mid-western spandex and he in the requisite mid-western Bermuda-style shorts. Can’t say she shouldn’t have been wearing Spandex because all ladies are lovely in their own right.

But that she was critically, passionately, impulsively concerned about her own perception of her ability to continue to wear Spandex became evident during her conversation first with herself, and then with her male counterpart.

She stood (right in the middle of the aisle so I couldn’t go around her otherwise I might have missed the entire episode) in front of the powdered flavoring packets for water.

Rather than appear impatient or impolite, I made a pretext of studying the various array of drinks on the other side of the aisle.

And I heard her reading the labels to herself.

“Low calorie.” “No calorie.” “Sugarless additive.”

I was nearly at a loss trying to figure out why these phrases could be so important to anyone looking to buy flavoring for water.

Of course I’m at a loss as to why anyone would buy flavoring for water. But that’s another story.

Finally tired of waiting, her male counterpart motioned for her to make a selection or move on, and she chose the latter.

As they sauntered slowly up the aisle to their next destination, I could hear her extolling the virtues of adding her own flavoring to her water…..”Because it would keep the calorie count low.”

I stopped mid-stride. I wanted to bust out laughing. I didn’t. I kept it bottled up.

But just to make sure I was laughing inwardly for the right reason, I checked the bottled waters on the shelf next to me.

Every one I checked had the exact same calorie count. And that count was zero. Nada. Zilch. The big O.

Did she really think that adding powdered flavoring to her water would actually decrease the calorie count?

To what?

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