Friday, July 12, 2013

Harris Teeter-ing on the Edge

Hormones make you crazy.

Almost every woman I know makes mention of this, but that doesn't make it any less true. Especially if you're like me and you get pretty bad Pre-Menstral Dysforic Disoder (a fancy way of saying once a month I so debilitatingly sad that I feel like killing myself). But this was never truer for me than it was on Sunday, when breakfast made me completely drop my basket.

It started simply enough. I woke up. I was in physical pain. I was irritable enough to set things on fire using only the powers of my rage brain. And I was starving. I craved something. But what that something was was just out of reach. Something savory. And sweet. And cheesy. And preferably covered in gravy. But I couldn't figure out what.

As I looked through the cabinets and fridge of the house where I was housesitting, nothing struck me. Somehow, miley vegetables and liquid egg whites and 8 day old hot and sour soup and flax seed wasn't doing anything fo rme. I was about to resign myself to a substandard egg white and soft tomato omlet with fat free cheese when it hit me. I wanted Waffle House. I wanted a waffle house waffle with syrup and butter. And I wanted hashbrowns, covered and topped. And I wanted it immediately. It's poison, and always makes me ill, but man, do I love Waffle House.

me, 2:45 AM, loving Waffle House

I looked at my "food" pile and wanted to cry.

The main problem is that the nearest waffle house to me is an hour away on a good day. I wasn't up to that. I also wasn't sure if I was up for making a Waffle House breakfast from scratch. But I needed pain killers and other supplies (like Gellato), so I decided to cut my losses and just go to the grocery store.

First, I went to Shoppers Food Warehouse, which is one of those "last resort" food stores that always smells like old eggs and dirty sneakers and they never carry the brands you want. But, the prices are really low and it was the closest store and I was starving.

As expected, it smelled like shower farts and the selection sucked. Also it was crowded and they were playing the world's saddest pop ballads. On a normal day, I'm annoyed when I hear sad music in grocery stores. Why, oh why do they play shitty sad pop in grocery stores? I know, it's to encourage people who eat their feelings to spend more money on food. But it's terrible, and it's why I hate grocery shopping. Anyway, on extra special days, like this one, I started falling apart as I walked down the ice cream aisle to the strains of "The First Cut is the Deepest" as sung by Sheryl Crow. And as that song ended and Pink's "Who Knew?" started, I stopped. I felt like I was about to snap. So I dropped my empty basket and left. After all, Breakfast is not worth me putting my head through a freezer door.

So I found a Harris Teeter. The food choices were better. The music was much, much better. But I was unraveling. I had found a fresh made 7 layer dip and instantly put it in my basket. But perusing the chip aisle, I started getting agitated because I couldn't find a single sized bag of tortilla chips. And then I got sad for thinking that. And out of Hormone Left Field, my brain exploded.  A transcript from that moment would have looked like this:

... "Single" serve tortilla chips and "Single serve" waffles that come with "single" serve syrup for the people who don't have anyone to cook for it's not sad but it sounds like the saddest goddamn food line in the world damnit BLT's sound good but Bridgett doesn't have any bread and I leave tomorrow so I don't want to buy a whole loaf of bread and a whole package of bacon why is bacon $8 when I have to leave tomorrow and I'll have to keep the bacon in the work fridge and all day I'll hear people ask WHOS BACON IS THAT ARE YOU MAKING BACON BACON JOKES god I hate my cubicle next to the kitchen also that bread will probably go bad and I'll have spent $4 on it becaue I want the fancy marble rye because I know it'll taste better and Bridgett only has olive oil mayo and that doesn't sound good so I'd have to buy mayo and I don't want to and ugh I should just make chili chese tots but same problem I'll only use a few servings and I'll have to lug it to work tomorrow and keep it in the freezer there where there's no room and then I'll have to take it home where I'll forget about it and that's another $5 wasted and why do I not care about spending $18 on a shirt I'll only wear once or $25 on a sub par meal at a restaurant but I spaz over spending $5 on frozen tater tots Ive gotta realign my priorities I should blog about that fuck I have so many blogs I've forgotten to write I'm never getting anywhere with my career why don't they sell tiny bottles of syrup I don't want to spend $5 on a giant bottle of syrup when I only need a tablespoon...

Needless to say, it was getting First World crowded in my head. "All my food desires were so far away. I'm in a grocery store, on my period, in my sweat pants, about to cry. I don't feel like frying up my own hashbrowns. I'm broke. My hair sucks. My uterus is in a pretzel. I haven't written in weeks. Pink is so sad which makes me so sad. Everything is hopeless." All I wanted to do was curl up in a deep freeze and cry. And as I moved from one frozen potato section to the next, opening a door, picking up some curly fries, putting them back, opening another door, picking up tater tots, putting them back, opening another door, picking up a microwaveable packet of french fries, and putting it back, I finally decided on potato rounds. I sighed audibly, still unhappy, and let the door slam.

And that's when I heard the voice of the old guy stocking groceries behind me say, "I think you made the right choice!"

I looked over and tried to laugh, but all that came out was "I'm sorry, I'm struggling this morning. I mean, this afternoon."

He started to say something else, but it didn't matter. All those irrational feelings about breakfast and life came welling up and streaming down my face.

"I was just looking for a quick breakfast because I'm house sitting and they don't have any food and I didn't want to spend the time and money at a restaurant, but by now I could have eaten and been done and back at home. And I'm upset because everything I want to eat is sold in family size and there's no single servings of anything that I'd want to eat and I don't want all this extra food getting wasted because I know I won't eat it and I just can't spend any more money than absolutely necessary. I'm sorry, I'm just stressed out and confused."

I've never feelings raped a complete stranger before.

The look on his face was priceless. A cross between, "Wow, I am mortified for you" and "Wow, please don't kill me." But, he must have been married or raised around women or just naturally equipped with survival skills, because his face got soft and he asked me what I was thinking of cooking. We discussed my breakfast needs for a bit as I collected myself and what remained of my dignity (spoiler alert, there was very little).

He suggested the ready-made, microwave bacon that was on sale. I told him I didn't know what he was talking about. So the kindly old man walked me over to the meat aisle, showed me the discounted bacon, and then he mentioned that the artisan breads were also on sale, and that the loaves were smaller and they tasted better. Breads like Rosemary Olive Oil, i.e. my favorite bread. And then it dawned on me that olive oil mayo might not be terrible. And I did have tomatoes and lettuce at home.

And lo, my crisis was solved. It was like a giant rainbow appeared in the form of a short, portly Harris Teeter stock-man. I thanked him profusely, and all he did was laugh me off as he walked back to his cart, presumably to help some other temporarily insane woman who was crying over whether to get Fat Free or 2% milk. 

I got out of the store as quick as I could, before I attacked someone else with my crazy.

Hormones are terrible. 

But God Bless You, Harris Teeter guy.

You are not terrible.

and I had lunch all week. 
oh, and the BLT's were incredible.


Katherine Goff said...

I actually got choked up, now when you discussed your struggles with depression, but when the old man helped you figure out what to buy.

It was one of those sappy Lifetime movie happy endings as far as I was concerned.

Audrey Turner said...

It was pretty magical.

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