The only type of shopping I dislike more than clothes shopping is grocery shopping, but today I actually enjoyed it. It's the beginning of the winter semester for students at University of British Columbia Okanagan and it seemed like a lot of them were getting groceries upon their return from their winter break.
Groups of young people, mostly young men it seems, smiled and joked as they wheeled their carts up and down the aisles of the Superstore. I felt a nostalgic ache as I remembered shopping with my roommate Carolyn at the Guelph Zehr's store within walking distance of our apartment, a converted garage that she'd decorated into something quite impressive. I remember making Campbell's chicken noodle soup and sprinkling some oregano on it for variety, and those horrible 59 cent pot pies. And then there was the wonderful meal she taught me to cook for special occasions ...Chicken Kiev and a savory rice pilaf with onion, garlic and toasted pine nuts. I remember the two of us sitting on the floor, our backs against the couch, listening to one of our three records: Carol King's Tapestry, Jane Oliver's Stay the Night, and the Essential Rachmaninoff. On particularly lazy evenings when we'd done all the studying we could stand, we'd call the local taxi company and get a cabbie to go to the liquor store and buy us a bottle of white wine and a pack of smokes. (For the record, I haven't smoked in many years).
When my now husband and I moved in together for our final year, he had a car and we were able to drive to Panda Foods, the Italian grocery store across from the house that he'd shared with a bunch of Engineers before he moved in with me. At Panda, if you could handle being struck in the face by the smell of salted fish as you walked through the door, you could find all kinds of produce and brands of canned goods I'd never seen in the grocery stores I frequented. My husband introduced me to exotic meats like thinly sliced mortadella and spicy capicollo. We shared the cooking for a while until I got tired of chicken and rice and peas, followed by chicken and rice and beans, interchanged with chicken and potatoes and peas....you get the picture.
Today, my disposition was much more positive than my usual grocery shopping mood and I ambled around the store for over an hour, not caring that I was retracing my steps to find things because it seems they're always changing the layout on me. I stood at the check-out in front of two young men and eavesdropped on their conversation hoping to hear something I'd relate to from those many years ago.
Instead I heard the blonde bearded guy asked his buddy: "Do you ever go to do something and as you walk by the computer you think, I should look something up. You get on the internet and then before you know it an hour has gone by and you still haven't looked up the thing you sat down to look up, and you can't remember what you were going to do before you sat at the computer."
"Dude...happens to me all the time," his friend said with a laugh.
Me too dude...me too.