Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pick up in Aisle Three (Or Maybe Not)

When we got home from a birthday dinner the other night, I took off my rings and put them on the coffee table. It occurred to me then that I might want to move them to the dining room table next to my keys so I wouldn’t forget them in the morning. But did I move them? Of course not. And did I forget them in the morning? Of course I did.

And it bothered me all day.

How strange that a couple pieces of jewelry can be so much more than a couple pieces of jewelry. My finger felt naked and I couldn’t wait to get home to slip the rings back on my finger. I didn’t feel less “married” – it just felt…I don’t know. Weird. And in the meantime, I hoped no guy was going to hit on me in the produce section at Kroger’s when I went in to pick up some alfalfa sprouts and radicchio.

Oh, wait. That hasn’t happened in a while. And probably not because of the rings on my left hand either.

Oh well – that’s okay. I’m not on the market and really don’t want anyone hitting on me in the produce section at Kroger’s. It happened before back in the carefree days of my youth and, frankly, it was always sort of a creepy experience.

It's curious to me that men hit on women in grocery stores, although I suppose the idea does make some sort of sense. You can tell a lot about a person by taking a peek in their shopping cart. If she has Similac and diapers in her cart, he might want to stay away. If she has the cart filled with things like Trix, Fruit Loops and Spaghetti-O’s, he might want to move on. Because if she doesn’t have toddlers at home, her taste in food probably was stunted somewhere around the third grade and he could have a tough time enjoying an adult meal with such a woman. Unless, of course, he himself is partial to chicken nuggets and Ding Dongs.

On the other hand, if she has a six pack of his favorite beer in the cart along with some steaks and a loaf of crusty French bread, he might take a chance and hit the jackpot. Sure, she could have a boyfriend at home, but nothing ventured, nothing gained – right?

The first time anyone hit on me in the grocery store was back in the day when I wore skirts and high heels to work. Stopping at the grocery store on the way home from work was the norm – and one evening some guy in a ratty old t-shirt and jeans that looked like they hadn't seen the inside of a washing machine in a while stopped me in the meat department. How's that for irony? Not the sort of “meat market” I was expecting!

Nevertheless, he chatted me up as I scanned the packages looking for a good deal. Being too polite to tell him to bug off, I endured his patter as he attempted to wow me with his pick-up lines. Which sort of bombed. Lines like, “Hey, that steak looks good – I bet you could cook a nice steak, couldn't you?” And “I love red meat – don't you?” were not exactly knockin' my socks off.

Thankfully, he didn't ask me out so I smiled at him and told him I had to be moving along. I stopped short of sprinting away, but the guy pretty much stalked me up and down the aisles after that, which definitely creeped me out. So I abandoned the remainder of my grocery list and made tracks for the cash register as fast as my high heels would let me.

I stowed the groceries in the trunk of my car – and then saw a car pull up behind me thus blocking me in. Yep, it was the same guy who by then had gotten bold and said he wouldn't move until I agreed to go out with him. Whoa. I never did respond well to either coercion or threats.

I told him in no uncertain terms to move his car, which he took as a sign to continue trying. Just then I noticed that the person who had parked in front of me was leaving – so I jumped in my car and took off in the opposite direction. I can't remember what happened next, though I'm quite sure I didn't drive straight home because I didn't want this character to know where I lived. I probably did my best imitation of Starsky and Hutch trying to lose a tail before finally heading toward home.

Sheesh. Not a great example of a successful pick up in a grocery store, that's for sure!

On the other hand, perhaps some folks have better luck. Hopefully with a little more finesse. After all, true love can be found in the strangest places. For me, it was on MySpace. So the meat department at Kroger’s isn’t outside the realm of possibility. I’m just glad I’m no longer looking.

So I won’t forget my rings again. Oh, and I’m really glad I no longer wear high heels. Take it from me - sprinting through a grocery store in them is not fun.

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