I Really Do Try to be a Grown Up


Situations happen to me. They just do. I have very little control over this fact, and I've learned to live with the ridiculousness that life throws at me. It was always my dream to embody the cool elegance of Audrey Hepburn or the classiness of Grace Kelly. However, it seems to be my destiny to be Lucille Ball. On my good days, that is. On my bad days I'm probably more like Joan Crawford, with complete strangers feeling oddly compelled to drop mini-curtsies my direction and call me, "Mommy Dearest."

But I digress.

Anyway, who knew that merely going through the grocery check out line could cause an existential crisis?

I like to use those re-usable shopping bag. Yes, the environmental aspect is nice and all, but really they're much stronger than plastic bags, more comfortable to carry, and they have lots of uses. If I'm just traveling overnight, I often use them to pack my toiletries. When I empty the bags, I stuff them all in one bag and hang them on my front door so that I can take them out and they're always waiting for me in the car if I need them.

I can guarantee you that I will NEVER for the rest of my life EVER use another re-usable bag without checking and rechecking it with the thoroughness that only someone with a tendency towards obsessive-compulsive disorder can muster.

Because we have so many activities and only one driver (The wheels on my minivan go round and round...) I try to cram as many errands into our trips to and from sports/CCD/Scouting as possible. Today it was grocery shopping during Daughter #2's CCD. I grabbed my bags, the two youngest kids, and headed into the store.

There were deals EVERYWHERE! It was wonderful! Hot chocolate was half off, they had just gotten in fresh spinach, and they had non-bruised apples that were just lovely. My cart was entirely full when I got in the checkout line. I handed the elderly checker (who was named Rajit, if I remember correctly) my bags from home and waited.

Rajit was the single slowest checker I've ever experienced. Three bags and several minutes into my check out he had finally finished the frozen food and opened bag number four to start scanning my produce. To my horror, the bag was not empty.

The bag was REALLY not empty, because Rajit pulled out a pair of lacy blue underwear I had evidently put in the bag at some overnight point or another in the recent past (and I had been wondering where those underwear had gone to. Now I knew. I rather wish I had kept wondering).

Rajit, who must have been in at least his seventies, held up the underwear and said, "What is dis?" with a very thick accent. He then tried to scan them. Obviously they didn't scan, and as soon as my horrified paralysis wore off I reached over and tried to grab them. Horrified comprehension dawned on Rajit's face and he placed the offending article delicately on the check writing shelf, where I snatched them immediately and hid them in my purse.

I tried to play the moment off by yelling at my Daughter #3. "DAUGHTER!" I yell-whispered for the benefit of the people looking at me with all the fascination of a train wreck. "You better not EVER use my shopping bags for your slumber parties ever again!"

Daughter #3 was not going to have it. "Mom," she answered back in a normal tone of voice. "Those are yours."

For the record - Daughter #3 is getting coal in her stocking this year.

Did I mention that I still had half my groceries left on the checkout belt? And that Rajit was the slowest checker on Earth?


I resisted every urge to bolt out the door (leaving all groceries, checked and unchecked, and the child who had dimed me out) and waited until everything was scanned, then paid and walked calmly out the door. Thank Goodness nothing else happened in the interim, or I might have started bleeding from the eyes and ears as all the blood in my body congregated in my embarrassed tomato-red face.

And for the record - I really do try to be a grown up. But somehow I can't see Audrey Hepburn ever having a pair of panties magically appear in her shopping bag.

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