December 26, 2006

Kind of About Grocery Shopping, Kind of About Contentment

I ran to the grocery store tonight before dinner to get an ingredient we were missing for dinner. We're lucky there's a store less than 2 miles from our house, so running out for a missing ingredient is no big deal. Or, it wouldn't be a big deal, for someone like Paul who can go all the way to the store for one single item and then have to go back the very next day for another single item. When I go to the grocery store, I remember everything we're out of, everything we're low on. Walking up the dairy aisle, supposedly just to get the eggs we must have for the cookies, I think, "Butter, I think we're getting low on butter......We need more of those little yogurts for Robert.....Better get another gallon of milk......"

It takes me longer than it takes Paul, I'll freely admit that, but on the other hand I come home with the things we're going to urgently need in half an hour. I know, though, that as a "only what's important this minute" thinker, Paul is exasperated when I take longer at the store than he thinks I should, and so when he's standing over the skillet waiting for what I've run out for, I try to be accommodating. Tonight I raced through the store so quickly that when I came to a sudden halt for shredded cheese, I startled another woman badly enough that she braked her cart, too, probably thinking there was a dangerous animal in the aisle ahead.

On my way out of the store, I saw a couple with a baby. The mom was wearing sweatpants and a ponytail, and the guy with her looked young and like he'd rather be somewhere else. I was thinking, as I always do when I see something like this, that it must be hard to do this kind of life if it's not what you want: if you want to be out late, if you want to drink until you stop being aware of what's around you, if you want to sit down in a restaurant instead of getting take-out like this couple was doing, if you want to be--or be with--someone who wears tight clothing and tall heels and lipstick.

But I, I was rushing out of the store with my bags like I'd won some sort of contest: I got in and out of the store in twenty minutes, AND I got a bunch of stuff we needed, PLUS I remembered to get the egg nog that Paul had suddenly remembered a few days ago and that I thought we weren't going to be back to the store to get before we did our late Christmas celebration. I felt happy and cheerful, and I felt like this was about the level of excitement I like in my life: to be pregnant, and to have children growing up at home, and to have been quick at the grocery store.

This is the kind of life I like, not the kind I got stuck with, and if Paul was like that guy who looked like he wanted to be somewhere else, it wouldn't change how I felt: I wouldn't be sorry we'd moved into this kind of life, I'd only be sorry that he didn't like it here too.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Wow. I love this post. You verbalized just how I feel!