Do not go to the grocery store, kittens. Sure, you desperately need a new jar of Biscoff after last night’s Buffy marathon, but is that cookie dip worth your self-esteem? The local mini-max may seem oppression free, but you’re wrong. So, so wrong! I have seen evil and it wears a Piggly Wiggly name tag.
I may be giving in to hyperbole here, but it’s hard to think through all the trauma. The last three times I’ve been to grocery stores in town, a horrid scene has unfolded. Why, my heart writhes, just recounting it here.
Clerk: Hello, ma’am! How’s you’re day?
Grace: Peachy, thanks There’s no sign of the apocalypse today, so I can totally bake cookies tonight.
Clerk: Uh ok. Paper or plastic?
Clerk: Here’s your receipt and a Buddy coupon for the little one at home.
Grace: *screams, flails, runs*
The little one at home. THE LITTLE ONE AT HOME.
Kittens, people think I have a little one at home. What the fresh hell is happening in the world? Sure, when I turned 28, I joked about how it was all downhill from here, because of my depleting cellular renewal, but the operative word was joked. I didn’t actually think I’d go from being carded for pink wine to being offered free pacifiers overnight. The great grocery gods have moved me from one demographic to another and they must be punished.
Apparently, I look like a mom. Something about me—my hair, my makeup, my magic invisible scrunchie that only grocery clerks can see—screams that I am responsible for another human life. Damn it, I am not a mother. It’s not that I am against mothering, it’s just that I’m relishing these years of being decidedly un-mom. I can wear low cut tops, without fear of toddler hands! I drink on weeknights! I never clean up soggy Cheerios!
It’s the contents of my basket, isn’t it? It’s no secret that grocery clerks judge what comes by on the conveyor belt. Just ask any thirteen year-old girl, when she’s confronted with all male cashiers and a pressing tampon quest. Priyanka knows you’re judging her feminine product strength, Bryce, she’s not dumb. If I had to guess what purchase was causing this phenomenon, I’d go with fruit. In my college days of Pop Tarts and Gushers, no one ever assumed I was spawning, but throw a plumcot in there and you’re basically PTA president. Care just a little bit about your dietary health and—poof!—it’s all nappies and child leashes.
World, let me have this moment, okay? Stop trying to force your expectations of child possession on me. Just because my hips are wide and made for baby making does not mean I am currently making babies! Not every late twenty-something has or even wants children, you know. Unless you see a child or child-specific items in a cart, it’s best to not mention les enfants. I could be child phobic for all you know! If you came into my office, I wouldn’t assume you’re on Viagra, just because you’re over the age of sixty-five. I’d give you the chance to proclaim your testosterone level. It’s common courtesy!
Sigh. I’m going to start wearing those low cut tops to the grocery store, in the hopes of ending this disturbing trend. Of course, then maybe they’ll just think I’m a trashy mom chasing her youth. That’s worse somehow, isn’t it?