Sunday, March 25, 2012

Groceries, Gas, and Grated Nerves

I did it!

At least, that’s what I thought.  I made it through an entire grocery store, got what I needed, was quick, proficient, didn’t get overwhelmed or stuck, and even remembered how to use my credit card properly at the end.  It was a monumental success… probably the first of its kind since I returned to the States in August.

It might have helped that the store wasn’t a Walmart or Meijer.  Littler stores just don’t stress me out as much, it would seem.  And seeing fresh fruits and vegetables piled up prettily in baskets just made me feel “at home.”  (None of this trying to figure out how many are in a bag and whether I’ll be able to use them all or not – I like this “pick your own” method which reminds me of the local dukas in Tanzania!) 

3 apples, one loaf of bread, 1 tomato, and some ham, cheese, and juice went into the car without a problem.  I took the mini-cart back to the collection place, smiled at the little girls staring at me from the car next door, and congratulated myself on a successful shopping trip.

But then, it happened.  It was a quick act, a simple thought.  “I should wash the pollen off the windshield.”  And with that, I turned into the gas station on my right, pulled up to the empty pump near the store, and got ready to check another thing off the list.

You would think I’d remember a little thing called “full service.”  In fact, the first time I discovered this lovely North Carolinian option, it made a huge impression on me.  (Read: I sat completely embarrassed in my car as someone got gas for me that I could have easily and ably done for myself).  But no, I neglected this carefully stored tidbit of information in the recesses of my mind, and drove into the open spot pump to the gas station.

About the time the clerk walked out, had the nozzle in his hand, and asked how much gas I wanted, I realized.  It all came back to me.  And I hastily said, “Oh no, thanks.  I can do it myself.” 

I should have driven off right there.  Not looked back.  Or at least turned my car around to another pump.  But instead, I thought I’d be smart.  Play it cool.  Fill it up myself. 

Wrong choice.

Turns out the cost of gas per gallon is nearly 30 cents more at the full-service pump as the rest of them.  (Which means I probably didn't need to tip the guy in the aforementioned experience!)  And as I awkwardly worked to scrub the pollen and bug deposits off my car, avoiding the people who were trying to maneuver around me to get into the store, and ignoring the clerk staring at me through the window of the station, I experienced that same, familiar, overwhelming feeling of not knowing what’s going on, where I’m going, what’s normal, or how to go about daily life.

Oh well.  There's always next month, right?

(Just in case you think I'm completely crazy, here's another blog proving that I'm not the only one who gets overwhelmed by grocery stores and modern conveniences in the States!)

1 comment:

  1. LOL I bet that was a little overwhelming! Next time be sure to pull up beside self-serve gas pump! Was great seeing you with some of my friends today!! Wishing you the best and keeping you in my thoughts and Prayers!!!