I can’t find anything in the supermarket anymore.
It’s not just me, either, which may or may not be a comfort.
I’m the one who goes grocery shopping in our household, mostly because I’m the one who actually enjoys it. I like being surrounded by food. I like running across new and interesting things to eat, even if I’m not really much of a culinary adventurer. I come from a long line of people who like to feed other people, and being in a store dedicated to just that sort of thing is a marvelous time as far as I am concerned.
The main grocery store here in Our Little Town is roughly the size of your average local airport. It stocks more varieties of more things you’ve never heard of than you can possibly imagine. The potato chip aisle alone goes on for about a quarter of a mile, and even that is dwarfed by the dairy section (as you would expect here in Wisconsin).
Once in while I can even get escarole, so I can make real Italian wedding soup, but not often.
So it’s big, but I’ve been doing the grocery shopping for a long time now. The girls used to come with me when they were little, when it was an adventure, and once in a while Lauren still does, but it’s pretty much me. I had my coping mechanisms. I had my routines. It was a smoothly oiled machine, really.
But for the last few months they have been Expanding the place.
Oh, the actual parade-ground-sized building hasn’t changed, but they’ve been reorganizing the usable space so as to allow for more actual aisles of stuff, so it feels much bigger. I'm not sure where they're putting the stock anymore. They've probably drilled into a parallel universe where it is both colder and less populated, so they can just leave stuff there where it will stay fresh and not be stolen. And if the employees never seem to age, well, that explains that. It certainly isn't because I'm getting older. Can't be.
Naturally, all of this reorganizing has entailed a tremendous amount of moving things around. Not much of what you want to buy is where it was the last time you saw it – just enough, really, to be confusing, since you think to yourself, “That can’t possibly be still there, right? Nothing else is.” And there it is. Sometimes.
I’m not alone in my confusion, either.
Every week I go to the grocery, grab my cart, and walk aimlessly around with my cohorts – a glassy-eyed food-shopping army of the damned, doomed to spend eternity (or a rainy Sunday afternoon, whichever is longer) roaming the aisles looking for canned goods.
At least we won’t starve along the way.