Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Irv...cleanup in aisle nine!

The funny thing about grocery shopping with a little monkey in tow is that there is basically nothing funny about it and it sucks. If hard pressed, I'd say the only funny thing is my disheveled and frantic appearance, but since I don't personally find that funny, I'd be hesitant to suggest it to others as cause for commentary.

A few random observations. First, there's a whole lot of crap I have to remember to bring apart from the grocery list and whatever coupons I have. I have to bring the DIAPER BAG. The diaper bag, which is not really a bag, but more of a small suitcase at this point, is packed with all manner of distracting garbage to keep the monkey occupied during the half hour minimum it will take me to buy everything on the list. All this preparation, so that I can stuff this luggage into the grocery cart and take up about 50% of the available cargo space...thus requiring me to pile things on top of the bag (blocking access to critical items in the event of a meltdown)..or even worse, risk little items slipping into the bag (and thus pray no one arrests me for shoplifting). That would be a lovely headline (Mother of Miracle Baby Caught Stealing Chocolate Bars in Local Grocery Store while Baby Looks on!!)

And then there's the issue of the cart and the monkey. The Little Monkey is too big for those cute little bucket seats that attach to the cart to ensure the comfort of your newborn. But, The Little Monkey..being little, still has a tendency to topple over in the actual seat of the cart. I've tried various manner of restraining devices, all of which (again) basically suck. In the end, I just wind up sticking the monkey in the seat, strapping him in, and readjusting him as he slides around. And then there's the issue of the cooties. God only knows the last time anyone in Shop Rite actually cleaned these carts, or even noticed that half of them don't have functioning safety belts. Oh well, nothing like exposing your immunosuppressed child to the germs of a thousand hands that have come before you.

Back when I was just pregnant, I use to bitch and moan about the rudeness of people who did not give up seats on the subway or bus during my commute. Being a chickenshit, I would never actually accost these people and say anything obvious like - "Hello, I'm pregnant and in pain here, do you mind if I sit down in your seat?" Living where we were at the time, I generally avoided confrontation on the train so as to live another day.

But now, with the actual living, breathing little monkey in tow, I have a whole new level of rudeness to complain about. Ready? Ok.

No matter what time of day or night or day of the week I go to this grocery store, it is always crowded. Crowded with a certain demographic of shoppers. These are shoppers of a certain age who are oblivious to those around them struggling to get through the shopping experience as quickly as possible. What I have discovered among this particular subset of shoppers is that they are careful and cautious consumers. And they have time. Time to spend in the aisles, with their carts blocking access. Time to spend carefully comparing prices of the goods on the shelves. And time to chat with neighbors they have run into along the way. All of this is lovely, in its own way..but again, loveliness tends to fall by the wayside when you have a screaming monkey in tow. I especially love the looks on the faces of my fellow shoppers when the monkey does start screaming. Oh I LIVE for those moments.

It's not all bad I guess. This particular Shoprite has a fishtank right in the front of the store stocked with the largest most bug-eyed freakish looking fish I have ever seen. These things are like the three eyed fish in the Simpsons. And they seem kind of smart too in that they swim right up to the glass when you approach them. Food? The little monkey gets a kick out of seeing these things. That lasts about a minute.

Oh..and some of those shoppers of a certain age are kinda sweet actually. One of them began a conversation with the little monkey today. (I never quite know how to respond in these I pretend on behalf of the monkey, and give him a speaking voice to respond to direct questions?" "Oh, why yes, we ARE doing just fine, thank you, and how are YOU today?") But, this individual was a charmed one in that she made the monkey smile, and that always wins points in my book.

By the way, if anyone has a good babysitter they'd like to recommend in the Bergen county area, feel free to email me. I think I've had about all I can take of these grocery store adventures.

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