The weekly shopping trip saga
When you are a retired couple, the number 1 adventure of the week is to go for your weekly shopping trip. For some reason, both of you have to go. You can have your own adventures, too. Hubby always manages to get in a trip to Home Depot, Canadian Tire or Central Supplies without me, for which I am eternally grateful, and I always manage to leave the house without him for a hair appointment, pedicure or massage, only because he wouldn’t be caught dead at these places.
But inevitably, we both have to go to Walmart for supplies. All is good until we walk in the door. I inevitably have to use the washroom first thing. While he collects the cart and makes a big deal about cleaning the handle with a towelette, I say, “I’ll meet you at the veggie section.”
“I have to go get kitty litter, Tums and Tylenol first.”
“Well, I have to go find a cheap bra, so I’ll go there first and then meet you at the grapefruit stand.”
We part company. And so begins the unfortunate saga.
After unsuccessfully finding the one lousy object I came in for, I wander over to where I said
He’s definitely not at the grapefruit stand and after waiting there for what seems like forever (six-and-a-half minutes), I move on. I systematically march along the one long aisle that looks down all the shorter food aisles to see if I can see him. I start in the veggie section and plod along to the last aisle that contains the milk, yogurt and cheese. There are at least 100 retired men meandering the aisles, but not one of them belongs to me.
This situation would be remedied if we both had a cellphone, but we’re too cheap to get two, so we share one, which is useless for finding your mate at a big box store. The law of averages suggest that I will find him eventually, but by the time that happens I’m already planning our divorce. After another 20 minutes, I wonder how I’m going to tell the kids that I lost their father.
Maybe he fell and can’t get up? But surely I’d run into him if that was the case. Did he meet an old friend in some obscure back aisle? Men are worse gossips than women and they could stand there jawing all day, given half the chance. Just where the heck did he go? Back to the car? I hustle to the parking lot and promptly forget where we parked, so I dart around trying not to look obvious. When I do eventually find the car, it’s empty. It’s not possible he’s in that store! I’ve looked everywhere.
Now I go back and wonder if I should get the store involved. Do I really have the nerve to ask them to say over the intercom, “If Lesley Crewe’s husband is still in the store, will he please come to the information desk before her head explodes?”
I decide I better not chance it. He’d never forgive me. I end up shouting into the men’s washroom. “JOHN?”
“Yes, this is the John,” a man replies.
Even in my heightened state, I thought that was really funny. I told him so.
“Thank you,” says the voice. My hair must have been on end because the Walmart greeter is looking at me with concern. “Can I help you, ma’am?”
“I’ve lost my stupid husband!” “It happens a lot.”
“And are they ever found?” “Unfortunately.”
And who comes around the corner with a full cart but Hubby, looking furious. “Where on Earth have you been? I sat outside that women’s change room for an hour.”
He has the nerve to be mad at me!
“John, I said I’d meet you by the grapefruit and you weren’t there.”
“I waited by the grapefruit and you never showed up.”
“If we had another phone, we wouldn’t have to do this every time.”
“I am not getting into a discussion about phones in public. Let’s go. My feet are sore from running about this joint looking for you.”
“My feet are sorer than yours.” This is what it comes down to.
We sulk our way through the checkout and march to the car. After putting our seatbelts on, he turns to me. “Did you get whatever you were looking for?”
“No. Did you get my grapefruit?”
“I was too busy looking for you. Why didn’t you get it?”
“You had the cart, mister!”
LESLEY CREWE ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I wonder how I’m going to tell the kids that I lost their father.
Lesley Crewe is a writer living in, and loving, Cape Breton. These are the meandering musings of a bored housewife whose ungrateful kids left her alone with a retired husband and two fat cats who couldn’t care less. Her 10th novel, Beholden, is being released this fall.
A shopping trip can be more trouble than it’s worth.