Why is it that odd comments always happen in the grocery store? Funny stories often happen in the library, but the head shaking, alternate universe-type comments are always at the grocery store. So I shouldn't be surprised that this is the comment I heard in the check-out line yesterday. Though I'm still a bit baffled as to why someone was surprised I was buying groceries at a grocery store.
Here's what happened. I was putting my groceries on the belt, when a (slightly) older woman got in line behind me. She watched me unload my cart for a few moments and then said, "Wow! You must like to cook!" This took me a little bit by surprise because I didn't feel as though the amount of food I was buying looked bizarrely large. It was a normal amount for our family for a week from that particular store. (I wonder what she would have said if she had known that it was only half of my weekly groceries. I had already done my shopping at Aldi and it was in the van.) In fact, I feel as though I buy a lot less than the food I see in other people's carts. Anyway, it must have looked like a lot to her, hence the comment.
I try not to take offense at every little thing, so I pleasantly said, "Well, I do a lot of cooking." I wasn't buying all that food just because I just wanted to cook, but because my family needed to eat. Based on her tone and the fact that her volume allowed the entire store to hear her comment, my instincts told me that mentioning the number of children in my family would just be asking for trouble, so I stuck with something benign and what seemed to me to be fairly obvious. Isn't that why everyone shops at a grocery store, so that they can eat?
But it didn't end there. She paused for a moment and asked (loudly), "You cook dinner?" I was tempted to pat my head to see if horns were sprouting based on her surprised tone, but resisted and instead replied, "Yes, every night."
"EVERY NIGHT!?" Not only horns, but a second head must be making its appearance.
"Yes, every night."
"EVERY SINGLE NIGHT!? You don't go out to eat?"
"Um, no, not really." I then briefly thought about mentioning those 10 children, but quickly pushed that idea aside and stuck with, "Well, it's really expensive."
"Oh." Clearly she was disappointed at such a mundane reason for buying food and cooking it. I don't know what she was hoping for, but I must have ended up being a disappointment to her. Probably she was hoping I was secretly housing political refugees seeking asylum in my house and was forced to feed them myself because we couldn't appear in public. Hmmmm... with more lead time, I could have come up with a really exciting story behind my nefarious cooking. If only I got a script in advance of the odd comments. I'd be prepared.
At least she didn't stalk me and then try to ask me out.