Recently, I realized I’ve turned into my father. Yes, I know this is odd. I’ve also turned into my mother and possibly my grandmother… there’s that uncle too. Anyway, I discovered my transformation into my father while I was at the grocery store. It’s Christmas you see. This means that everyone completely loses all ability to think and create lists and remember the simple things that are needed for cooking and gifting and all that comes along with Christmas. I travel to the store quite capably every other day of the year — but today, the eve of Christmas Eve, well… I turned into my father and made four trips to secure sour cream, butter, milk, and cheese.
Now, my father made these eve of Christmas Eve trips alone so I can only speculate that my behavior once I was in the store resembled his.
It started by securing the best parking spot in the lot, the coveted spot right next to the cart return area – a stroke of sheer luck no doubt.
The store was packed more on this fourth trip than it was earlier in the day — also, the looks on the faces of the shoppers had changed from a cherub-like “happy holidays” smile to an affect as flat as an elephant’s foot. The workers were also showing signs of the eve of Christmas Eve shopping stress — there seemed to be a lot of shelf stocking going on as opposed to employees eager to locate ”those-weird-food-items-you-can’t-locate-on-your-own”.
I have shopped at the same store for several years now but for some inexplicable reason, this night I had to stop at the end of each aisle and look up unknowingly at the sign to tell me what items were located on each aisle — I stood under each sign at the beginning of each aisle. The eve of Christmas Eve short-term memory loss had clearly kicked in — I’m sure my father suffered from this, I’m sure of it.
Once I decided I needed to venture down an aisle, I would pause in the middle, my cart spread across as if I was parking a Lincoln Town car there — no way around me, completely unaware of the back-up I was creating.
I looked down at the ground, hoping to spark my memory of all the ingredients needed for all the special dishes — my mannerisms reeked of dementia.
I talked to myself — going through the items I knew I had in the cupboard and the refrigerator. I answered myself, “You just bought unsalted butter on the last trip”, I’d say aloud for all to hear. “Oh yeah, that’s right, I forgot”, I answered back even louder with a smile on my face — I oozed with the eve of Christmas Eve psychosis. People turned their carts away so as not to startle me. The always helpful produce man retreated behind the bananas.
“I am not an ANIMAL!”, I screamed in my head. Which of course made me laugh aloud — the women were protecting their children.
I decided on my fourth visit to the store that I desperately needed margarita mix, for obvious reasons (I was clearly having an eve of Christmas Eve psychotic episode and what better way to welcome a psychotic episode AND your relatives then with tequila?)
My cart was filled with the necessities for a happy get together, once again, and I felt certain I could leave this place — this vortex of confused people — hoping never to return (until at least the day after Christmas which is, of course, when I will realize that I’m out of chocolate milk). I decided to park my Buick of a cart along an end cap this time while I did another mental review of my cart, matched it to my mental review of what was in my cupboards and refrigerator, checked it against my mental review of the needed ingredients for all the dishes I was preparing, and then… did it all again. Unfortunately, I once again did my mental review aloud for the whole of the store to witness… “squash casserole – this, this, and this… done, good. Pumpkin black bean soup — that, that, that, and this… yay, I’m doing great.” I looked up to see that produce man hunkered down deep in the grapes this time — one eye on me, one eye searching for the nearest exit.
I headed for the checkout, with a rather large, possibly scary smile on my face — I was feeling so smug at this point.
I made small talk with the girl at the checkout… “So, are you all open tomorrow?”
“Yes”, she replied without looking up.
“Oh good”, I smiled. “Gives me plenty of opportunity to come back again when I get home and realize I have forgotten something.”, I laughed one of those weird laughs that you laugh when you realize that you’re sounding a wee bit off and the fact that you’re now laughing that weird laugh doesn’t really help your cause in the eve before Christmas Eve psychosis defense. This is when I realized that I had, in fact, turned into my father. The supreme disher-outer of droll jokes and one liners that no one laughed at more than he did.
She continued to look down, not wanting our eyes to meet. Clearly, we were through exchanging pleasantries.
I was back to talking to myself with the occasional fit of laughter — thinking about that tequila.
No one asked if I needed help to my car with my bags — the baggers were mysteriously absent from the front of the store.
I’m home now. With my loot. The eve of Christmas Eve is here. My fourth trip to the store was hopefully my last.
So I say to you all, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a… what’s that my precious daughter? We’re out of toilet paper?”
I’ll be right back…