Monday, December 12, 2011
It takes a village
I was shocked, nay dismayed, to find that my grandmother didn’t have a drop of alcohol in the house. What the hell happened to the older set having a tot of brandy in the evening as part of their constitutional?? Where have the principles on which this country was founded gone?
And another thing: where exactly WERE the bottles of water in the frig coming from? Grandma had told me to not drink the water from the sink, but the bottles of water in the frig weren’t new; their squishiness seemed to indicate that these poor bottles had been used for quite some time now. Hmm. Then, a call from my mom.
Mom: Blah blah, blah….
Me: Blah blah! (whispering) Psst, so I have to know. Those bottles of water, where are they coming from?
Mom: Well they…
Me: Because the water from the sink is supposedly a no-no, but we’re not buying water, so….
Mom: Oh, your grandma goes to the fountain near the pool and fills the bottles up there.
Me: So she goes to some fountain and fills the bottles with the exact same water that’s piped into the houses?
Okay, so we’ve established I seriously need some likker.
But this means I need to head to the grocery store on what’s now the DAY before Thanksgiving, Shit. I can only imagine what chaos this’ll be. But, emergency times call for emergency measures. Courage.
At Ralph’s Grocery Store, down the road from LeisureWorld
Hmm, the parking lot doesn’t seem insanely packed – maybe the store isn’t open? But no, it’s open, and as soon as I walk in, it’s like stepping back in time, to a world where people were kind and smiley and nice, especially around the holidays. In other words, a world that doesn’t exist anymore. Clearly, I have died and am now shopping in heaven. Oh well. Easy come easy go. I wonder how pricey the Cheez Doodles are up here?
Dead or not, I need my alcohol, so I find the likker display – where another sign points to the presence of a celestial spirit, as the spiced rum I want is on sale! Whee! A dilemma presents itself though – the really big jug, i.e. the optimal one, is highly discounted if you have a Ralph’s card, which I do not. Then the smaller bottle is almost the same price as the mega one, which irks my frugal Ukrainian sensibilities. Hmm. I finally decide that I’ll rely on the kindness of strangers at the checkout in helping me deal with the no-store-card situation, and pick up the mega jug-o-rum.
I wander around the rest of the store, and discover we all seem to be tourists here at Ralph’s. A woman actually asks me, “Are you local? Do you know where I might find the stuffing?” Another kindly person who overhears steps in to help her, and I realize that all the local people are shopping at Costco. So here you just have all the out of-towners, on vacation, NOT having to cook for 32 irate relatives for Thanksgiving. No wonder we’re so benevolent.
But then, the moment of truth: the checkout. The guy scans my rum and asks me if I have a Ralph’s card.
Me, smiling winsomely yet regretfully: Nay, I do not, kind sir – if I lived here I’d certainly have a card and shop only at this fine establishment, but I’m from out of town.
I’m about to up the ante by putting on the Sad Cancer Face, when the woman in line behind me pipes up: “Oh, you can use my card!”
Me: Why thank you, that’s so sweet of you!
Nice woman: Oh, no problem. Where are you from?
Me: Chicago. And I’m visiting my grandmother, hence the need for the big bottle of alcohol.
Checkout guy: Amen to that!
NW: Oh, do I ever hear you! I’m stocking up as well!
Bagging guy: Yep, don’t wanna forget the alcohol, no sirree.
And we all smile at each other jovially, having found the ultimate common ground, i.e. the need to get likkered up to deal with one’s relatives.
Who ever said there’s no such thing as holiday spirit?