The Grocery Saga – Long Format But Good for a Laugh or Two

If you recall, or maybe if you just scroll down a bit, you might remember that the last time I went grocery shopping was the first week in January. I snapped this with my iPhone in the parking lot as I was leaving because, though I had ice cream in the car at the time, I also had some magical light-I believe I called it “cool clouds during the blue hour.” Yes, that’s what it was, indeed. Those really were some cool clouds.

Fast forward to this week.

I’m completely out of groceries. I haven’t been to the store since then and odd things have started to happen. For one, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t really had time to go. And then, somehow, I just haven’t felt like going. Extreme laziness had set in and I just couldn’t be bothered going. For some unknown reason, I’ve just avoided the place. For a long time, I just wasn’t buying it. Days would go by and I would just try to put it behind me somehow, like it was never really there. (Groceries? Nah, they don’t exist really, just a figment of your imagination, right?)

As days went by, it seemed like some kind of surreal moment-you know what I’m talking about here. It was like I was in some kind of a Beckett play only in reverse. Instead of “Waiting for Godot,” instead of standing next to some stupid tree waiting for some mysterious event to happen or some unknown guy to just show up out of the blue, I was doing my absolute best to avoid any kind of shopping. The grocery store, though mere blocks away, felt like miles down the road and completely unreachable. Like some ship in the night that I might pass briefly but will never set sail. Some mysterious dark harbor that didn’t really exist in my tempest of day to day life.

I even started tweeting about this.

“It’s like I’m in some kind of a contest-how many days can I go without groceries?!? What’s next? Eat wallpaper paste? Pizza dude, u there?”

“Must…get…groceries. Have not shopped in weeks. Even the candy stash at my desk has run out. Oh the horror!”

Now, I’m not one for reproducing Twitter tweets here (that would be redundant and, apart from that, I just find it rather dull and boring) but I thought it would be fun to share with you a sort of day-by-day run down of this whole non shopping “experience” (can I even call it that? What do you call it when you don’t do something? Is that an “experience” an “inexperience” or maybe a “non-experience.” Hmmm. I’ll have to get back to you on that, back to you right after I go shopping, of course.)

So, if you’ll excuse the bits of redundancy and the stream of consciousness, ahem, *clears throat* here goes.

Day 1-Ok, I went to grocery store yesterday. Got a few things. Have too much milk. Maybe I should make some mac and cheese.

Day 2-Hmmm. No lettuce left. Ah, that’s ok, I had a salad Tuesday anyway.

Day 5-Milk is starting to smell funny.

Day 8-Out of pasta sauce. Veggies look funny. What’s this? *Pulls pickle jar from back of ‘fridge.* Hmmm.

Day 9-Don’t feel like cooking and very busy tonight. Pizza dude, you there?

Day 11-Milk smells very funny now. Nothing fresh left. Hmmm. Not in panic mode but maybe should think about going to grocery store? Nah, I’ll paint instead…

Day 12-Ok, milk is dead now. Veggies up and gone. We’re down to staples.

Day 13-Oh look! A can of soup! Non-perishable food items, oh how I love thee, let me count the ways.

Day 14-The cow that gave the milk on day one is now a steak but, unfortunately, we have none of that “steak” business in our freezer. Nope, there’s too much film in there. Gee, I wonder if I could eat a Polaroid… (ponders chewing plastic.)

Day 15-Candy stash at my desk has run out and co-workers have started to stare me down. “Where’s the CANDY around here!!” Kevin protests. Even Damien politely asks, “Don’t you usually have some kind of candy or something in this jar?” I try to explain, “sorry, I just didn’t get to the grocery store yet,” but they aren’t really buying this lame excuse.

Day 16-Co-workers have started to give me dirty looks in the hallway. Cows laugh at me.

Day 17-Kevin tries to eat an eraser found at the bottom of the dish that once contained candy. Milk is so dead I’m now contemplating selling it as penicillin and using the proceeds to buy Chinese take-out.

Day 18-Well, it was good for a can of soup once, gee, I wonder what else lurks in my pantry. Hark! Do I see a package of Ramen Noodles? Indeed, I smell Riboflavin. Yeah! It’s like winning the non-shopping lottery.

Day 19 (from Twitter)-“Day 19 of no groceries: how to survive on frozen raspberries and dead toast. On a positive note, press for upcoming encaustic show: DONE!”

Day 20-What’s milk? Can somebody remind me, because I’ve forgotten again. Presumably, Kevin has run off and invaded the land of Hershey or otherwise emptied the nearby vending machine. Even the Ramen Noodles smell funny and we’re surprisingly (or not) all out of soup. On a positive note, is it February already? Wow, how time flies when you’ve got no fresh food.

And this brings us to today.

I wonder what’s going to happen today? It’s a safe bet that the candy dish in my office is now empty, probably broken even or maybe, at least, turned upside down. Kevin’s probably wearing it like a lampshade over his head while banging on the vending machine demanding it either spit out copious amounts of chocolate or give him his money back. I don’t have anything resembling “milk” in any format, even the Polaroids look a bit chewed up, and I’m predicting that I’ll break down and finally run to the store once I start running out of toilet paper. I believe bookies will soon start placing bets as to when I will return to my friendly neighborhood local grocers and, in fact, I’ve started to wonder if they’ve remodeled the place or if it’s just been so long since I’ve been there last that I’ve just forgotten what the place looked like to begin with. Oh the humanity! (Please do tell me if they now stock cherries on aisle six as I might very well return. Some day. I think.)

Yes, I believe that’s what the future holds for me: I’m to get lost in the market on my way home from work today, if I even make it there in the first place. Because, you see, I’m going today. I’m really going today. At least, that’s what I’ve told myself today, on this very day, as I wake up in the morning, sitting here early in the day, typing this to you. *Today* will be the day I finally break down and go to the grocery store, that is, at least unless I put it off until tomorrow. Really though, I’m going to try and go *today* because, well, because I have to sooner or later. Don’t I? (Never mind, don’t answer that.)

If I keep telling myself this, will I make it happen? Will I finally break down and just, for the love of God, money, and great American muscle cars built before 1973, finally just go to the damned grocery store and get it over with already? Or, will I put it off for yet another day and face yet another day of the “gee, I wonder what’s in the back of the pantry roulette” game I’ve been playing lately because I’m so incredibly lazy I can’t even drag myself up and out of the house long enough to go and come home with a bag of fresh foodstuffs.

Oh, and, on an entirely unrelated note (yeah, right!) I’m going to stay home all day and paint tomorrow. Look for me in the studio (but not the grocer’s freezer!) tomorrow and wish me luck digging through the seemingly endless pantry on trip number who-knows-what (since I’ve lost count now) to the back outer reaches of my kitchen storage area. It never ceases to amaze me what I find back there and, frankly, I believe I could live another six months without visiting that pesky shopping center, not that I would consider doing that now, would I?

Would I? Could I? Oh, good grief!

Until next time…



  1. mythopolis
    January 28, 2011 / 4:24 pm

    The contents of all the plastic containers in my fridge look alike. They are green. Where is my Encyclopedia of Edible Mold and Fungi when I need it. They are actually pretty. Sorta like nature's own encaustic.

  2. Peruby
    January 29, 2011 / 12:31 pm

    I put off cleaning.

    While reading your post it made me wonder about folks on welfare who only get their checks (old school) at the beginning of each month.

    I wonder if they scrounge around at the end of the month for food in their cupboards.

  3. Carol
    January 31, 2011 / 5:32 am

    Mythopolis, I so could see you with "nature's own encaustics" aka 'fridge encrustments.

    Peruby, yes I wonder about that too. Though in my case, my scrounging was caused entirely by my own personal laziness, I'm sure that there are folks out there doing the same sort of "tango food pantry" that I was doing only it wasn't as fun. I should be happy I can get food but was just too lazy to go, as opposed to not having any because I could not make ends meet. Thanks for the reminder!

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