Friday, July 14, 2017
I can't abide the supermarket anymore- especially alone. It fills me with self-loathing to walk the long, towering aisles. I try to keep my equilibrium: I walk fast, consult my list often, and try to feel 'purposeful.' Alternatively, I experiment with a casual attitude- picking up things and 'hmming' over the label before setting it back on the shelf. I pretend it is fun to choose from all these wonders, to browse slowly the packages and cans; I adopt a devil-may-care personality: maybe I won't even buy this flour, these raspberries; who knows? I can take it or leave it- these products, these objects don't define me.
Alas, I cannot hold this presentment together for the length of time it takes to get through the check out. I despise the supermarket because of what being a middle-aged woman in it represents: You are the provider, you are the nurturer, you are the cook, the cleaning lady, the laundress, the pot-scrubber, the char woman. Even if you don't do these tasks in your home, when you are at the supermarket, you are one or all of these persons.
These tasks and roles are not disgusting to me in and of themselves; it has more to do with what you are not while in the supermarket: You are not a fashion model, a pop star, an executive, a mistress, a spy, a drunk, a superhero, or a photojournalist; neither are you rich, busy, well-dressed, or desired elsewhere for your skills.
I dislike them mamming me all over the place, and I hate the little squints in the deli department with their low level, jejeune flirting, and the feigned cheeriness of the produce people. As further insult, they kick you out the door with "did you find what you were looking for?" I should say not! But, what kind of fool would I be for seeking in the supermarket? I wouldn't even look here if I wasn't out of food, and yes, you seem to still have hundreds and hundreds of pounds, packages, and pallet-loads of the stuff, so yeah, I 'found' what I was looking for.
And what can be found in the supermarket:? Beat down people, mostly women, with extra large cases of cheap beer, soda pop, frozen pizza, laundry suds, boxed what's-its, enough sport drink to fill a swimming pool, awful magazines, and bushels of chewing gum- chewing gum! Who needs that? Who wants it? The supermarket is such a testimony to our excess that I flee it with my head down in shame. It's hideous; like a carnival fun house in a horror movie.
A very few times, I have found things in the supermarket: cod in a wooden box, pretzel rolls, and a half-off bottle of French champagne once, when the supermarket was going out of business. If you should happen to see me there, pretend you don't notice me, officiously reading my list, swaggering my cart, reading the names of cat food flavors, and humming this song.
The recording above particularly suits this dissolute diatribe, but the song is so wonderful that you might want to hear it again, with a little less atmosphere.