Thought Catalog

My Relationship With Grocery Stores, In Four Parts

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The Big Lebowski

Part One

The Ralph’s on Weyburn is enormous. I used to actively complain about the walk there from my apartment on Midvale—the distance was so daunting to me, especially during the warmer months, that it would completely deter me from ever properly grocery shopping.

He used to ask me late at night if I’d come with him to buy food because he was bored of studying and he would make a big point of saying that he would drive me there and back. I’d pretend to think about it, but I would’ve gone with him even if he didn’t drive. We’d wander around at 10pm and almost always forget to buy the things he said he needed to get in the first place.

Part Two

We were stranded at a random train station. We had escaped to Paris for the day to get out of the ironically claustrophobic feel of the very vast nature that surrounded the farm we were staying at. We both agreed we could breathe better if we were deep in the city. We could barely understand what anyone was saying over the intercom and even though our host had been teaching her French over the last couple of weeks and I had literally studied it for what felt like 100 years, we felt tongue-tied and deaf. We didn’t have phones or internet or even the exact address of the farm—we only knew landmarks: there was a bright blue door, a rose garden in the front, and it was across the street from a huge and unruly cornfield. There was a golden retriever two houses down. Did the street even have a name?

Across from the train station was a huge grocery store. I wish I remembered the name of it. We weren’t sure how long we’d be stuck, so we trekked across the platform and slowly made our way around all of the aisles. We bought chocolate and giant bottles of water. I just remember walking around—sunburnt, sweating, tired, and deliriously happy even though we had no alternative way of getting home.

We almost missed the last train. Our host, who hated me anyway, told us we weren’t allowed to have any cheese with dinner because we’d made him so worried.

Part Three

My mom grocery shops every Monday. It’s her least favorite thing to do. Whenever one of us was sick and had to miss school, she’d make us come with her to the store. It was my favorite thing to do. Anytime I’m home, I still ask to come with her.

Part Four

Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Strawberry Pop-Tarts are what I used to binge-eat when I was Very Depressed. I think it’s because my parents banned junk food when I was growing up and I used to whine whenever we’d pass the sugary breakfast options in the cereal aisle at the grocery store. I avoid that part of the store now because I’m scared I’ll buy them.

Red Gala apples are my brother’s favorite. The chocolate covered pretzels in Trader Joe’s remind me of my sophomore year of college. I threw up Two Buck Chuck red wine in my bathroom sink last November and now I get embarrassed whenever I pass the Trader Joe’s liquor store in Union Square. Whenever I meet someone from Connecticut, I ask if they’ve ever been to Stew Leonard’s. I love, love, love the smell of the coffee in Fairway Market. Fairway also has a small “British Foods” section and they have all the candy I used to eat when I lived in London. Sometimes I’ll stop by that section and think about how much has changed since then. It’s all very dramatic and sort of cliché and I hate even admitting that I do that, but my relationship with grocery stores really runs that deep. TC mark

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