Before I saw the middle-aged, conservatively dressed man, I heard his voice. "Well, it's great that you always find the reduced fat, creamy peanut butter when you go shopping but I'm telling you, it's not here. They've got chunky regular, creamy regular, but not what you want," he said emphatically, as he continued to stare at the shelves.
The cord from his ear piece dangled across his chest down to the cell phone hooked onto his waistband. "I will not ask anyone to help me find something that is not here!" I glanced knowingly at his third finger, left hand, confirming that he was talking to his wife.
As the man continued down the aisle, head turning from side to side, I placed a jar of raspberry jam into my cart and took a quick peek at the peanut butter section as I passed by. What do you know, he was right. I guess I checked because of the flashback of my own husband invariably bringing home the wrong food item or too much of something he became enamored of whenever he did the shopping.
I could hear the man as I headed down the cereal aisle. "That's not too much sugar," he pronounced, examining the label on the back of a box of chocolate Cheerios. "You're getting the kind of cereal you want. What about something I like?" This seemed like a reasonable request. Let's see...something for my husband, something for me.
When I got to the ice cream section, a few aisles over, there he was again. We must be moving at the same pace, I thought.
"Well, my dear, let me read you the entire row of names," he said. "Chocolate Delight, Coconut Breeze, Strawberry Song, Vanilla Mountain Glory, Melon Melody, and Hazelnut Surprise. Yes, they're all lactose-free. How do I know? It says so right on the front of the container."
I had not intended to indulge in any ice cream but I wondered what kind of surprising ingredient was in the hazelnut concoction. I nonchalantly hovered several feet away pretending to be absorbed by the sorbets. As soon as the man made his choice and wheeled his cart toward the next aisle, I promised to keep my portions small as I cupped my hand around the Hazelnut Surprise.
A few minutes later, over the nuts and seeds bins. I couldn't help but overhearing him as I scooped chopped walnuts into a baggie. "You really should try the raw, hulled sunflower seeds to lower your cholesterol." About twenty seconds of silence followed his suggestion. Then, "Well, of course, hon, to lower mine also, not just yours."
Hmmm, I thought, I need to lower my cholesterol too. After he moved on, I grabbed another scooper.
We were making progress. He skipped the pet food aisle as did I.
The laundry detergents were waiting for the three of us...the man, his wife, and me. "All right, I'll buy it but it's not on sale," he complained as he lifted a large box of my favorite detergent. He gave a long, last, lingering look at another popular brand that was reduced by two dollars. Truth be told, I don't think I would have noticed.
This shopping trip had paid off for me in more ways than one but, apparently, not for the man's wife. "Hmmph! I've saved you the time and effort of having to go through all this and that's the thanks I get. You can do the food shopping from now on and I'll take over the laundry," he told her, ripping off his ear piece.
Have you ever watched a man do the laundry?