I step inside the door, away from the intense Arizona heat, to the freezing sensation of cold air being blown at me. I stop. It takes my body a minute to adjust and not faint. The long walk across the huge parking lot in triple digit heat has me dripping sweat through to my bra. The cold air has turned my sweat into wet and I am shivering. Take off my sunglasses and toss them into my purse. I squint as the lights inside are too bright, not sunlight bright, fluorescent bright and now I am questioning whether I should put my glasses back on or let my eyes water and adjust.
Popular music from the 1980’s is playing loudly. I don’t mind it. The songs bring me back to high school and are surprisingly not the typical, overplayed top forty. I sing along as I go. There are very few people around me so I feel less awkward and self conscious being alone, blurry eyed and still so sweaty .
I turn the corner and see all the seats at the bar are full. Puzzled, I grab my phone to check the time. It couldn’t be after noon already? No, it was still 11:30 am or so. I hadn’t lost time. It was still fairly early and during the middle of the week. Out of curiosity I look over to see what everyone is drinking. Mostly beers and wines.
At this point in my life I am not much of a drinker at all. I am a stoner. Drinking beer, any time of the day, is really not appealing to me. Morning or night, the flavor is kind of gross. I will drink one with sushi or chips and salsa but I really can’t seem to drink more than a few sips of beer before I feel really full and have to pee. I can not imagine drinking wine that early in the morning either. I can and do imagine myself smoking a bowl that early, so no judgements here.
Years ago an intoxicated girlfriend once told me her stellar wine drinking philosophy which I actually stand by to this day.
Her: “You don’t drink wine so I’ll show you. It’s three sips! It’s the three sip rule! Ok so the first sip you take is like ugh what am I drinking? The second sip is like ok this isn’t thaaaat bad. Then by the third sip you’re like hey?!? this shits good! And there you have it! You’re drinking wine!”
This handy yet somewhat slurred advice got me through my first glass of red wine at a formal business party with out me making a complete ass of myself and is how I have judged “good” wine ever since. If I do not need to take “three sips” before I am smiling and claiming “this shits good!” please go buy another bottle!
I am now staring at the bar and realize if I don’t stop day dreaming I am never going to get out of this Grocery Store and finish my errands.
Yes, I am at the grocery store!
This mammoth sized freezing cold building I have entered contains everything from Starbucks to patio furniture to clothing to flowers to a Pharmacy. I can easily get my 10,000 steps in here anytime I come without a shopping list. Complete with blaring 80s music and a wine/ beer bar if you need a drink for the strength or courage to finish “filling the house with food so you can eat this week” grocery shopping!
I am NOT in Walmart. That, to me, is the funny part. I expect Walmart to be huge and carry every item imaginable. I expect Walmart to be a somewhat crazy, disorienting experience with music in the parking lot that is not the same music playing inside the store. If I dress badly or oddly enough, I could and probably should end up online as one of their infamous shoppers! A Walmart excursion at this point in my life requires a day to mentally prepare that I am going, then a two day rest period after to recover. Walmart doesn’t have a bar.
But I guess my local grocery stores need to compete with Walmart and Target so, step right up ! Beer and Wine is now being served! Take the edge off that inflated food bill! One more round you wont care how much ground beef is per pound!
I am standing with my empty cart next to self serve donuts. There is Sushi, a deli and a bakery on my left with a bar serving drinks to my right. Up ahead of me is frozen fish. Rock the Kasbah is playing loudly in the middle.
It’s almost Noon and I probably should have eaten before coming. I have no idea what I am supposed to be shopping for anymore and have left my list at home. My brain wanders to what it must be like to be the bartender at the grocery store.
Do grocery store bartenders get hit on like the ones in a club? Do random grocery shoppers ask the bartender to send a drink to an attractive stranger at the end of the bar? Omg does the grocery store bartender really get to watch two random grocery shoppers start drinking then hook up? How far is the bathroom from the bar? The mental images and questions flood in.
My experience with bartenders is from back in the days when I was much younger and would go party on the weekends with friends after work. Taking shots of whatever liquor was sent to the table, my happy place was out on the dance floor. I have never told a bartender my life story but I have been cut off from being served, kicked out, and once, in Vegas, had a bartender grab my entire right arm and wildly tape a glass to my hand because I accidently dropped my last drink into the part of a slot machine where your coins come out!
My brain drifts off again…Do grocery store drinkers get rowdy? Does it become a party in here after 5? I can’t be trusted around an open olive bar after a glass of wine!!!
The lady behind the bakery counter is now staring at me. I’ve hovered around the cookies and sliced cakes with an empty cart this entire time staring at the bar. We make eye contact. She cocks her head to the side as asks “Can I help you?” in a tone more or less suggesting I was mentally unstable rather than was I looking for a tart. I laugh and say “no I’m good.” I cut her slack mostly because I have never had to work all day around delicious sugary treats I can not eat and stare at a bar I can not drink at. The frustration seems real. And yes, I am sure I looked weird at this point. Time for me to finish shopping, or start and get out of there.
I wind up buying maybe half of what I actually needed. The distractions in the store beat me this time. I will have to return, with a list.