This Friday is payday! And I’m really excited about it, but not for the reasons you might think. It’s not because I’m going to splurge on a new pair of shoes or some new sunglasses or even a much-needed pedicure. Nope, I’m excited about payday because that’s when I get to go grocery shopping!
My fascination with grocery shopping didn’t really start until I moved out on my own. Up until then, my mom had done all the grocery shopping for my family, and although I could throw almost anything that I wanted into the basket (my mom is one of the rare moms that actually let my sister and I eat junk food whenever we wanted it), it wasn’t the same.
No, there’s just something about grocery shopping for myself that is different, and I’ve really come to love it. From the day I sit down to make my grocery list (yes, I am a list-maker) to the unloading of everything into my refrigerator and kitchen cabinets, the whole process is somehow therapeutic and totally satisfying.
Over the past few years, I’ve come to prefer doing my grocery shopping alone so I can take as long as I please. I’ve also come to prefer shopping when no one else is shopping—2:00 in the afternoon, 8:00 in the morning, or late on a Saturday night when the rest of the world is out having drinks.
I like to push my basket down the aisles slowly, taking everything in. I like to gaze adoringly at the sprinkled donuts in the pastry case, linger on the bread isle, run my fingertips over the vegetables, and scope out the salad bar while I think:
Will I have spinach and walnut salad with my spaghetti or should I go with the Caesar? Do I want to add blue cheese to my burgers or keep it classic with the American? Should I pick up a carton of pineapple juice or try the orange/strawberry blend?
Although I usually stick pretty closely to my list, I’m quick to let inspiration sway me. If I planned on Cheerios for breakfast and a box of maple and brown sugar oatmeal catches my eye, I run with it. I’m spontaneous that way.
And while I can’t afford too many luxuries with my writer’s salary and LA rent, I make sure to splurge on one thing each week. Maybe it’s a ridiculously priced loaf of soft, fresh whole wheat bread—the kind with the little nuts and oats stuck to the crust. Maybe it’s a carton of the fancy brand of ice cream—french vanilla with perfectly square chocolate chips. Last week it was a container of green olives stuffed with feta cheese from the olive bar. Maybe this week it’ll be a bottle of red wine.
After I check out, I head home to unload. And once that's done, I like to stand back and look at it all.
Some people may feel successful and content when they look at their paychecks or their mansions or their sports cars. I feel successful and content when I look inside my full refrigerator—so successful and content, actually, that I almost want to never eat anything out of it.
But then I realize that’s silly and reach for a spoon. After all, there’s chocolate chip ice cream to be eaten.