That time I almost cried in Safeway…

Yesterday I almost started crying in a Safeway line.

It had a little to do with chicken wings and a little to do with my overwhelming insecurities. But mostly it had to do with peanut butter.

Here’s what happened.

I had my night planned out and let me tell you, it was a beautiful picture I had painted for myself. At around 5:15pm I would leave the office and head to the bus stop. After about 35 minutes of reading my latest literary obsession (Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please), I would get off the bus and walk a block to the Safeway by my house.

Once there, I would buy a healthy meal…

Okay, I think we should stop here to address another key factor that will play greatly into this story. That is of my newly resurfaced insecurities.

The Part About Insecurities:

You see, I recently took a trip home to Hawai’i to see my family and spend Christmas in sunny paradise. Not a bad life, eh? EXCEPT when your home is Hawai’i, your current lifestyle of sweaters, pants, and limited sunshine creates a RUDE AWAKENING when you arrive in “paradise.”

See in Hawai’i, people actually DON’T WEAR CLOTHES. We don’t climb coconut trees for lunch, we don’t live in grass shacks, and we don’t wear clothes. Just bikinis and occasionally a piece of fabric to go over that bikini.

I used to love this. I was young, tan, toned, and enjoyed the fact that I could ignore the heat and humidity. These days… it’s a different story.

I have lived in the city for over a year and I am far from the size that once allowed me to frolic around in what was basically a waterproof thong. Returning home and putting on that “cute” brazilian suit was a HUGE wakeup call.

I think I scared a couple of innocent tourists who were hoping to snap a memorable pic of the island… they got a memorable picture alright…

So, I don’t want to get too far into the huge complex that I developed after my first bikini day—especially after attending a baby luau and seeing the Gisele-type moms with toned arms holding up a three year old as another child clung to their thigh gap… because that was SUPER cool.

Anyway, you get the idea.

Now back to Safeway:

Upon returning to the city, not only had I vowed to eat healthier, but I also started working out again. When I went into Safeway, I’d completed two consecutive workouts. I had gone to an endurance circuit the night before and a full-body blast class that morning. Needless to say, the muscles that usually had difficulty opening a jar of pasta sauce were really barkin’ at this point.

Walking into Safeway, I saw that the lines were long, but I wasn’t too worried. I was only grabbing a couple items and could jump into the express lane at the end of my trip. No sweat.

So the shopping began. I grabbed what I needed and made a last minute decision to include wonderfully unhealthy chicken wings. I have an incredible weakness for those seasoned balls.

Okay, so let’s go over my list of items.

  • Tuna Fish
  • An Avocado
  • Hummus
  • Chicken Wings
  • A Tofu Block

With these items, I didn’t feel the need to grab a basket or a cart. I could totally handle waiting in line while holding these products. I had been to the gym twice that week. I was tough.

Even when I saw that the express lanes were closed, I knew I could do this!

But then, of course, I chose the wrong checkout line.

The Wrong Checkout Line Curse:

I am like 90% sure that I have been cursed with always choosing the slowest, most problematic checkout line every.single.time.

I’m not sure who it is I believe places this curse on the afflicted – perhaps some poltergeist of poultry or a little demon that lives in the redbox machine, but it is real. And I am cursed.

The Trouble Begins:

So there I was, weighing my line options, and I chose the one that seemed to be moving fast. Holding all of my groceries in my hands, I waited patiently as the customers in front of me unloaded full carts onto the belt.

The first cartload was fine and I scanned trashy magazine covers as I pictured myself consuming this incredibly healthy meal while watching the latest episode of my guilty pleasure show The Bachelor (because seriously, if I was being this healthy with my body, there was no way in hell I was going to be healthy with my mind).

After maybe five or ten minutes, I was only two customers away from the finish line. The woman in front of me was a sweet lady of about sixty or so. Her cart was full but I could tell that she was a not going to mess around when it was her time to unload those groceries. I appreciate that trait in a person.

The cart in front of her, on the other hand, was a different story. Actually, I should say the two carts…

The Problem Customers:

Here is where everything went wrong. The woman at the checkout counter had two full carts. One cart was filled to the brim with groceries. The other was filled to the brim with three children. These two carts made it impossible for the woman in front of me to start pre-loading her groceries onto the belt. She was completely blocked out of the lane.

That’s okay, I thought to myself, that only adds on a little more time. She’ll be able to move forward soon enough and after that, it’s me!

Oh, how wrong I was.

The checkout process started and soon the husband joined the mother of the three children. In his hands he held a peanut butter jar. The cashier began to ring them up and suddenly, it was like a light bulb had gone off in the husband’s head. This was not the peanut butter that he wanted. Because, of course it wasn’t.

So, he excused himself from line to go off in search of another. Add another five minutes to the process here. When he returned, he had another peanut butter in hand and placed it on the belt to be checked out. The process begins again.

Then, what happened next? Oh, the peanut butter was wrong again! Yes, the kids wanted the chunky instead of smooth after all. Or maybe it was the wrong brand. Peter Pan instead of Jif? Whatever it was, making everyone in line wait another five minutes was worth the saunter to aisle 4 to get the right jar.

At this point, my newly reawakened arm muscles are beginning to ache and the hand that was clutching onto those chicken wings was starting to cramp. But I couldn’t leave the line now! I was so close and if I did try to make a switch another checkout counter I would be sent all the way back to frozen food section!

Finally, the husband comes back and everything seems to be moving. But then… duh duh duh… the real shock factor is revealed! Behind curtain number two is the fact that this family will be paying with coupons or food stamps or some sort of out of the ordinary payment methods!

OF COURSE it wasn’t until this point in the check out process that they realized that the amount of groceries they were buying added up to be more than the amount that the check provided. And so they began the long and complicated process of deciding which food items to keep and which to discard from their bounty.

Because… of course.

I’ve been trying this new thing where I’m logical about the situations I find myself in and don’t allow myself to spiral out of control into the neurotic nut-job that I naturally am. So, I spent the 40 minutes that I stood in line concentrating on clutching to my groceries and trying to keep the cans of tuna I’d bought from going all leaning-tower-of-cheese-a on me and toppling over onto the ground.

But I will admit that when the woman behind me let out a commiserating sigh of complaint, I truly almost lost it. As frustrated tears threatened to shoot out of my eye sockets, I squeezed my hands around my chicken wings and let out a hysterical coyote laugh instead.

The family was finally finished paying and with the eyes of customers in other lines staring at me – the girl who’d let out the high pitched gurgle of a maniac – I finally made it to the checkout counter and dumped my goods onto the belt.

After my purchases had been bought and placed into a paper bag (because at this point there was no way in hell the environment was more important to me than the ability to use my arms the next day) I made it home.

On Eating Everything When I Got Home:

Recently I read an article about the human mind and its ability to only exercise a finite amount of willpower.

Well, I proved that theory correct. By the time I got home, all of my willpower had been used up on keeping my cool and not breaking down into a insane tantrum in a grocery store. The rest of my night went down the shitter.

I gave a very dignified “f*ck you” to my healthy diet and ate not only the meal I’d bought myself, but everything else in the grocery bag, a bag of chips along with dip meant to last me a week, chocolate, and an ice cream sandwich.

The Blame Game:

As with any situation, I would like to pass the blame of any and all of my bad decisions onto anyone/thing other than myself.

And so here it goes:

Dear family who couldn’t get their shit together at Safeway,

You were the cause of my binge-eating, my bitching session, my late bed-time (which then caused the lack of 100% dedication to my work the next day), AND my destruction of the environment.

That is all on your shoulders.

Just thought you should know.