Supermarket Sickness

Boyleing Points

I write this column because I’m cheap and my preferred neighborhood shrinks don’t take my insurance.  I figure most of you read Boyleing Points while imagining me lying down on a sofa while I drone about some neurosis or another. Wait, do people still lie down in psychiatric offices?  I’m kinda ignorant in that regard since the only model I have for the patient-psychiatrist dynamic is what I got from Admiral Bellows, the psychiatrist on I Dream Of Jeannie. 

But now that I think about it, Tony Soprano and others I’ve seen, sit directly across from a therapist. Yeah, that’d be better, I guess.  Lying down looking at the ceiling and talking, while somebody sits in an easy chair nearby, is definitely weird, but it does have the advantage of avoiding eye contact.  Which is a big deal.

It’s like when you’re in Stop and Shop. You’d rather not have eye contact with someone while you’re deciding whether or not you should grab that tub of ice cream from the freezer.

You don’t want to be saying, it’s for the kids. They love this damn stuff.

You want everyone looking at the ceiling when your shopping cart is overflowing with potato chips and Fudgetown cookies.  Supermarkets should rent carts that are clearly marked This Stuff Is Not For Me.  And they could charge a premium for carts that also say: Swear To God.

It’s not just the stuff you’re buying that makes the whole Supermarket thing a nightmare.  I’ve sat in my car for long stretches trying to brace myself.

I want to go in, get my stuff, and get out.  But it never happens.  You know what happens?  You see someone on Aisle 1 who you know by face. You smile, nod, maybe even say hello. What do you do when you see them again on Aisle 2?  You give them maybe a quick smile and a hey, we meet again, look.  But you’re thinking, I’m skipping Aisle 3 because I don’t want to have to do this again.  And you’re hoping they don’t have the same idea and you both end up together again on Aisle 4.

I’ve started down aisles and practically knocked over the cart, spinning it around for an escape if I’ve seen someone I’m trying to avoid. 

It’s not much better running into good friends. I really don’t want to glance in their cart and see something that will alter my view of them.  Why do they have all those prunes?  Are those diapers?

And I don’t want them looking at my cart. I don’t want to feel like I have to defend the fact that I’m a grown man who likes Cap’n Crunch.

I’m twisted about this stuff and I really should seek help, but I can’t seek help because I don’t have the time. I’m too busy dreading getting behind somebody on the checkout line that I might have to make small talk with.

I just want you to know – it’s okay if you look up at the ceiling if you see me shopping.

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