Just how many unwashed grapes can you pick off the bagged bunch in the produce aisle before the pangs of conscience turn them sour to your tongue? Five. You can safely eat five. Then it’s time to move onto the deli counter, where you can ask for samples of shaved havarti, in differing degrees of fat levels, and salt content, before deciding to go with the store muenster on sale.
You have to make this fun, because food shopping has become your life. You do it daily, picking up a carton of blackberries from a fruit cart, or a gallon of milk at the corner deli. But the real party comes with the big haul when you tuck the boys in bed, letting each add one item to the shopping list first. Nothing is off-limits. One of anything is not going to kill them. Besides, giving them free rein has the surprising effect of encouraging better choices. You dab on a little lip gloss, throw the canvas bags in the back of the KIA, crank WBLS, and tear off. You take up two spaces in the basement lot because you can. You test three carts before settling on one that steers straight and you roll through the magic doors. The horn section on Prince’s track Glamorous Life heralds your entrance as a fine mist sprays the flat parsley and butter lettuce. It’s a glittery ‘80s dance party on satellite radio this evening. Not just the Material Girl, and Michael Jackson, but New Order, The Cure and Missing Persons too. Nobody walks in LA When did you last hear that one?
Fortunately, the Shop Rite is not a club with a cover and a bouncer to whisk the beautiful people past the velvet rope, leaving the rest to shiver in our party frocks. It is everyone’s 24-hour discotheque, and taking a line from Slick Rick: “The freaks come out at night.” Lately, this includes one middle-aged mafioso with a relaxed middle in unclean running pants belting, and you mean belting, “Let’s Get Physical, Physical, I wanna get physical..” with a box of Life in one hand and Corn Chex in the other. And it is a good Life isn’t it? After exerting extreme self-control in riding the wave of hysterical laughter welling up inside you,—you don’t want to hurt his feelings—you realize you admire this dude. He gets it. He doesn’t give a damn what you or anyone else thinks. He is having an unapologetic blast amidst the Corn Flakes and Cocoa Krispies. He is one bad fruit loop against the tower of Fruit Loops at the end of the aisle.
“Let me hear your body talk, your body talk…”