The Way I Thought That Things Would Be: Grocery Shopping

If you read yesterday's post, you should now know about the disdain the younger me possessed when it came to vegetables. This searing hatred wasn't just a product of my childhood. It was present throughout my teenage years and lasted into young adulthood.

By the time I got out of high school, I started fending for myself more and more. My brother was married and starting his family life. My parents both worked full time. Most days, I was either working or hanging out with friends; I was rarely home. My diet consisted of jojos from the gas station, Chinese food from Safeway, grub from Fred Meyer's deli, Taco Bell's 59/79/99 cent menu, and movie theater popcorn.

Meal planning was not in my vocabulary.

I had just turned 20 when a couple of friends asked me to move to Nampa with them and split an apartment. Despite some initial resistance and paltry excuses, I accepted. It was the perfect time for me to move, and I discovered the Boise area was much better for me at that age than the Seattle area.

The downside of independent living was the increase in bills. My parents had been giving me a free ride. All of the money I earned was spent on food, entertainment, gas, and car insurance. Suddenly, I had to worry about stuff like rent and utilities. With a more restrictive budget, I had to (for the first time in my life) consider grocery shopping. For actual groceries.

Long before the 520 mile moving experience, even before Shane and Travis approached me with the idea of moving, I had a plan for stocking the kitchen when I finally moved out of my parents house.

Somewhere in the two years between graduating high school and the move to Nampa, I came to the resolution that I would always be adequately stocked. When I had my own place, my kitchen would never be without the three following items:

1. A gallon of ice cream
2. A bag of potato chips
3. A two liter of soda

As soon as one of those three things were empty, my plan was to make a trip to the grocery store and replace the depleted inventory. It's not because we had those items constantly available to us when I was growing up. But when I went over to friends' houses, it seemed like all of my friends had these items at their house. As it was clear that my friends were all from families richer than mine, I made a false equation that having soda and ice cream at your perpetual disposal equaled wealth. I thought that I'd feel like I was rich if I always had those three things ready to serve.

Then I moved out. I got my own place. My secret plan to rule the world (or at least rule my kitchen) could commence.

You can probably guess what happened. My plan was forgotten by the time my roommates and I made our first trip to the grocery store.

We did occasionally have soda, chips, and ice cream in our apartment. But stuff like laundry soap, toilet paper, and deodorant were far more important than the frivolous items I had previously considered necessities. It was during this phase of my life that I developed my spaghetti/nacho/potato diet.

But even then, I never imagined that I would walk up to a grocery story check stand with a shopping cart that looked like this:

Nothing but produce. Carrots, potatoes, bananas, a couple heads of romaine, oranges, cucumbers, and enough tomatoes for my daughter to eat one a day for the following week.

The younger version of myself thought I'd have no problem filling up a grocery cart with products from the deli, dairy, and meat counter. Take a spin through the pasta and cereal isles and a tour through frozen foods and I'd be ready to cook. The produce section was a foreign land. I did not have a passport or the proper immunizations.

I never thought I would spend so much time feeling, squeezing, and inspecting produce to ensure ripeness.

On the trip with the haul pictured above, only two more items made it into my cart before I paid and left the store. Some whole grain bread (another item the younger version of me never imagined buying) and milk.

I never envisioned I'd be one of those kinds of people in the grocery store checkout line. The health nut. The person without a single indulgence in their cart. I always thought those people were too pretentious. When did I become that kind of person?

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