I went grocery shopping without a list, here’s what happened

After a lunch of double-heel-pickle-and-cheese-sandwich (surprisingly edible, thanks to my resident head cold), I figured it was time to go shopping.

Grocery shopping is always such a chore, thanks in particular to my guilty pleasure of pretending I’m a Stepford wife in the kitchen. Seriously, meatloaf even makes an appearance sometimes.

The crafting of the grocery list is always a feat of its own, and perusing the internet for recipes takes its sweet ass time (damn you Pinterest).

My partner Michael always gets on me about my lists. He’s from one of those no-list families—the sort I’ve only heard rumors of—that ups and goes to the grocery store without so much as a note scribbled on the inside of their palms. The stories.

It’s been five years in training, but every eighth time Michael says we’re out of something, he now picks up a pen and adds it to the grocery list, and I essentially cream myself. It’s the little things.

Well, five years of training all basically went to pot the other day during a particularly trying nothing-in-the-fridge crisis. In my defence, it was his idea (and I had goopy snot brain).

We went grocery shopping without a list. I know, right.

I’m convinced this was just Michael’s ploy to eat frozen meals the whole week.

I shoulda known it was gonna be a wild ride when I wasn’t even allowed to take pictures of the inside of the fridge and cupboards to use in a foreseeable future freezer section breakdown.

According to Michael, I had to revert to memory tactics. Please, my mom’s a preschool teacher, my childhood was comprised of educational learning activities, memory games are my bitch.

I did however snap a quick pic of a barely compiled grocery list in progress stuck to the fridge, because everyone has limits.

There was a near incident on the way to Trader Joe’s as we tried to determine whether that was a clump of mucus in my eye, or if it was just a glint. However thanks to Michael’s swift driving skills and ability to not be distracted (otherwise read as: he’s proficient at ignoring me), we made it to the store unscathed.

Unfortunately I can’t say the same for Michael once we got to the parking lot. He stood outside my side of the car being remarkably chivalrous as always (more on this later), when I opened the door and accidentally pegged him right in the baby maker (more on babies later too, much to my dismay).

It was at this point that I noticed my ex’s surrogate mother figure was parked one spot over, and she was in the process of getting out of her car and walking towards Trader Joe’s (and us). This is probably a good time to brush over some background history, namely an incident involving a vacation in Tahoe with my ex’s fam and surrogate fam(s) in which she waltzed in (no locks) on me taking a shower and proceeded to go to the bathroom while asking me what my intentions were with my ex. It was very uncomfortable.


I stepped in front of a doubled over Michael, and yelped, “Hi!”

To which she may have been smiling in my general direction/squinting at the sun, but was probably mostly ignoring me. I’m still undecided on whether or not she didn’t notice/recognize me, was full-on blanking me, or if that squint was meant for yours truly. 

It may be noteworthy to mention that I am both sick (read: pastier than normal complexion, bloodshot eyes, chapped nose and mouth) and covered in cat hair. Which is ideal actually for this scenario, because I didn’t want her to report back to the hive that I looked amazing, was bronzed AF, or doing wonderfully, or anything.

Onwards and upwards, Michael (who had since recovered from his nether-region pain) and I trudged along into the store, where I tried to smell if fruit was ripe before giving up, realizing I can’t actually smell anything and putting it in the cart anyway. Can’t smell’s best friend is can’t taste, in which case it doesn’t really matter what I eat, which may be why I succumbed to this no-list showdown after all.

It was at this moment when I felt a drip. Like that sticky sort of period drip when you know it’s shark week knocking.

You see, I’m supposed to get my period today, but because it didn’t come before noon, I just convinced myself I was pregnant despite not having any sex (taking a break from birth control) and as such went grocery shopping in white pants with no tampons, due to obvious impending pregnancy.

As ex’s surrogate mother figure was on the loose, I opted for the ol’ tie the sweater around the waist trick, which in turn made me look like I was in line for the Matterhorn. Granted I’ll take that over nearly-25-year-old-who’s-still-in-denial-she-has-to-deal-with-all-this-menstruating-crap-and-doesn’t-pack-a-tampon-on-the-day-she’s-due.

Turns out it was just butt sweat. Silly me. I’m totally pregnant.

In other news, this week we will be eating blue cheese roasted pecan dip, grapes, and some cute miniature potatoes. Seeing as that’s all I’ve put in the cart so far—I’m severely lacking list-peration (and have been busy tying and re-tying sweaters around my waist). Michael filled out the edges of the shop with a pound bar of chocolate and a vat of cheese dip.

He pointed out it’s a little easier if you wait until there’s nothing in the fridge, because then you know exactly what’s in it. That’s our problem—we just have too many crusts of bread.

Not having a list did leave my eyes open for other opportunities, meaning that I found my niece and mine’s names in the frozen aisle—via Cedar Grilling Wraps and Chicken Drummellas—which was incredibly satisfying. Michael’s a McCormick, so his name is on about half the store.

When we got up to the checkout, I noticed that someone had left a full grocery bag on the floor, and mentioned it to the checker, asking if it had been forgotten. She said it belonged to the woman who had just left, so I asked Michael if he could run out and return it, as I’d already started to pack our groceries. He headed out of the store in search of someone who looked forgetful. 

The checkout lady would not stop saying how that was just the most wonderful thing ever, and how Michael was so chivalrous and how he had good things coming to him. And she kept going on and on and on.

And in no way do I deny any of that, Michael is completely wonderful. A point my grandparents drive home every time I see the whites of their eyes—I swear on most everything I’ve got that he’s their favorite grandchild. My grandma recently brought up the time that “Michael saved them”—when they were at the beach and their car battery died, they called us and we drove out a distance to give them a jump. She went on and on about how he came to the rescue, and what would they do without him. “Um, you guys, I was there too…” 

Michael is modern day chivalry, and often helps old ladies walk down stairs (much to their delight), and moms carry their strollers up stairs, and always stops the car if someone needs a hand.

But for some reason, in this particular instance, all that checkout lady’s praise really bugged me. Maybe I was jealous (probs baby hormones making me cray). It just felt like—bitch, simmer down, I would have returned them if he hadn’t, don’t get too excited.

And it made me wonder if chivalry has to have a handsome face and broad shoulders, in short—look like Michael.

And when people see someone who looks like they could easily get a seat at the Round Table, doing good deeds, maybe it strikes a really ancient chord somewhere on the inside all the way back from King Arthur’s era. That every now and then rears its head and makes us shriek, “IT’S NOT DEAD!! CHIVALRY’S NOT DEAD!!” And gives us hope that maybe we’re all gonna be okay because there are knights out there looking out for us after all, helping us down stairs, and returning our groceries.

Because what if I had been the one to return those groceries? Would it have been chivalrous? Hardly. I probably would have just been seen as a nice young lady. Which is how I’m usually seen most of the time (when I’m not buying disrespectful domain names about middle fingers). Maybe it just bugged me because I wanted some of that good karma she said would be coming to Michael, and I wondered what came to those who bag efficiently. Probably just really tidy bags. I suppose I had history to thank, and society, for making us damsels. Because apparently chivalry doesn’t have pigtails and an undercut.

For the rest of the shopping trip I looked for good deeds I could do, canned food pyramids I could stop from falling or stray carts I could return to the row. I settled for complimenting the checkout lady’s rhinestone glasses. She seemed grateful. I figured that would have to do for now. However next time an old lady needs help crossing the street, or a cat’s stuck up a tree, it will be a matter of “Michael, hold my purse.”

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