Friday, March 21, 2008

My Shopping Cart

At my highest weight, despite popular believe to the contrary, I did not love food. I did not even like it. It was the enemy. Rather than enjoing consumption, I was driven to eat. Those demons have not left me, and I struggle to stay somewhat on plan in a world gone crazy for procesed foods. For all of my weight-challenged friends, I know that you know what I am talking about. Sneak eating. Denial of eating. Classifying some food stuffs -candy, colas, etc. - as other than food.

Trips to the market in those days were agony. Candy placed by the front door. Bakery departments where the air flow was specifically designed to waf fragrences of cakes and sugars and chocolates all over the store. Store specials and coupons not for healthy produce, but for Hershey's Miniatures and the like.

I used to alternate my markets so that supposedly the checkers would not know that I was succumbing to those temptations almost every day. Of course they had to know, but I convinced myself that they didn't. But one thing that I could not avoid was the paranoid fear that people were judging me for what was in my shopping cart on a specific trip. And in fact, they were. Silently, but it was all in their eyes.

Frosted Flakes next to Hostess Chocolate Donuts next to cake mix and two cans of icing next to real butter next to bags of candies next to... well, you get the picture.

When I look at my cart during market trips now, it is mostly staples. I buy most of my produce at the weekly farmer's markets so it's a little more based on starches and proteins and dairy, but certainly nothing to be embarassed about. Nobody judges. Nobody pays attention. I had forgotten what it was like to shock others. Until late last week.

I am having some health issues again and I'm not sure what direction that they will ultimately take. In preparation for the worst, though, I've started to stock up on items that I cannot live without should I be too sick to go to the market. The most important thing, in my mind, being dog food. I do not want my boys to go without.

So I was in Ralphs and, to my happiness, discovered that Dog Food was on special. Normally $1.20 a can, it was reduced to 10 cans for $10. $1.00 per can. Seizing on the opportunity, I bought 5 cans of each flavor available. That came to 75 cans.

You cannot imagine how much room 75 cans of dog food takes in one's shopping cart. You doubly cannot imagine how much it weighs. Much like a flywheeled hotwheel car, it was hard to get going, but once in motion, equally as hard to stop. And all those cans glinting silver and orange? They attracted a lot of attention

Unlike when I would shop for processed junk food, people not only looked, but felt free to comment. "Oh my god!" was a prevelant response. "How many dogs do you have?" "How are you going to get all that food into your home?" "Do you have a closet that is lined with nothing except dog food?"

All of which I responded with "It's on special." "My dog's do not approve of 'Old Mother Hubbard'." "It will hold."

It was a weird experience. I have not done anything in a market for a very long time that would attract this kind of attention. But instead of reacting with shame for my own gluttony, I was able to be matter-of-fact about the whole thing. Nobody had to know exactly why I was stocking up in such a dramatic way. I was just a shopper taking advantage of a savings to the extreme.

The bag girl, after loading all of those cans into plastic bags (now don't go all green on me... I recycle them by picking up poop), looked very relieved that I refused her help to take them to my car. I do admit that I gave that decision a second thought as I moved the cans from cart to trunk. And it took a lot of muscle power to carry them all into my condo and put them away.

My pantry looks like the dog food department at the market now. I wish my camera was back so that I could snap a photo for you. I know that I have a month's worth of dog food here, but that if issues of health turn sour, I may need more on hand. Ralphs dog food is still on special.

Do I dare go back for a repeat performance? I think probably so.


hot tamale said...

awww what a good mom you are Laura. I know your boys thank you. I say let them help you with your bags next time....I used to when my back was so bad. I tried to give them a buck or two for a soda but they wont take it so how could I deny them the warm, fuzzy feeling they got from helping a gimpy gal like me I ask you? LOL
Take care Laura and I hope you and the boys have a wonderful Easter
love you

Anonymous said...

i wish i was closer to come help..i'd run to the store for you myself. If there is anything I can do, please don't hesitate to ask me. I'll try my best. I'm a phonecall, im, instant mesage, email away!!
Love you and the boys..Please take care (I know you are)

Claudia said...

Rigby wants to know if he can come over.


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