An assignment done quite well....

Posted by Tandarin Nike Wednesday, August 25, 2010 8:44 AM
My assignment was to pick up a few items from the grocery store. You should understand in advance that I'm not the designated shopper in our family. I suffer from a condition. If you ask me, for example, to open the crisper and take out the bag of fresh peas and the sealed cabbage, I would come back with, at best, one of those items and a bag of small carrots.

So you can imagine the panic that sets in when I'm handed a shopping list. I hope and I hope and I hope that the list will contain only familiar and easy-to-locate objects. For example, cucumbers are a good choice for me. I know where to find them, and when I come home with one that is spongy and inedible, I can say, "It was the best one they had."

I scan the shopping list: six items. I feel good about five of them. The sixth is coconut milk. Oh, God. I do not ask Shaila where in the grocery store I might find coconut milk. That is announcing failure in advance. I vow to find it on my own.

As I drive toward the store, I consider the possible hiding places for coconut milk. I'm sure it's not in the dairy section. And they probably don't have an "all things coconut" section. It's not a fruit juice. It's not a soda. My only hope is that a thirsty monkey is in the store at the same time, so I can follow him.

I soon realized that I don't have any of the qualities necessary for finding coconut milk. I'm not a good shopper. I'm not experienced at cooking, which might give me a clue as to what section the coconut milk would be in. I have no knowledge of the store. I have no patience. I'm not a good guesser.

If there's a choice that is correct and a choice that will go horribly wrong, my instincts always lead me in the direction that will be comically catastrophic. It's often not good to be me.

I was willing to ask someone for help, but all of the store employees were in their secret hiding places, and the other shoppers all seemed angry. If I had a different type of personality, I might impose on the other shoppers and not care about their angry reactions.

Or I might have interrupted a checker during a transaction. But as I'm trying to tell you here, I have NONE OF THE QUALITIES NECESSARY FOR FINDING COCONUT MILK. I don't know how many more ways I can say that.

I decide to do a shelf-by-shelf search, leaving out no section of the store, no matter how unlikely. I search through the donuts and the tortillas. I rifle through the radishes. "It might be frozen" I think to myself before opening every door of every refrigerated section.

After searching most of the store, I was near exhaustion - and starvation, ironically. I reached the Asian food section. I never knew that my grocery store was a racist, but there it was. My eyes gazed upon a can on the bottom shelf with mostly Japanese or possibly Chinese characters and an English title "Coconut Milk."

Now I have a new problem. I wonder if any of those words mean anything I should know, such as "Not intended for use in any of the ways your wife would like”. There were a lot of ways this could go wrong. Worse yet, there were two brands side by side. Was one of them the "right" kind and one of them the sort of thing you only buy if your luck runs out?

I choose one brand randomly and grab four cans, semi-triumphantly. I quickly locate the other items on the list and sprint for the checkout. As a precaution, I double-check my shopping list. It said FIVE cans of coconut milk, not four.

Damn! I hurried back to where I found the first four, only to discover that in the past five minutes the store employees had scampered out of their hidey holes and rearranged the entire store without anyone noticing. It was like a bad dream.

The Asian food section was now nothing but pickles and mayonnaise. Or maybe I am bad at retracing my steps. The point is that I have NONE OF THE QUALITIES NECESSARY FOR FINDING COCONUT MILK TWICE.

Eventually I find where the Asian food section has been hidden. I pay for my items and stride triumphantly out of the store, across the parking lot, only to discover that someone has stolen my car. Or maybe I forgot where I parked. Or maybe the friggin' thing was on the bottom shelf of the ever-moving Asian food section. The point is that I couldn't find it.

In past situations like this, when I needed to distract myself so I wouldn't spontaneously transform from tomato red into something green, I used to check my phone to see if I had any interesting messages. On this day, despite having both the ringer and vibration setting on, my phone had failed to warn me of two incoming calls from Shaila. The first text message read "Also get lemon juice."

The items I had already purchased would have melted in the car, should I ever find it, because temperatures hovered around 45 degrees C. And I couldn't take my groceries back into the store because I fear being arrested for shoplifting. Once I buy something, I spend the next six months driving in wide arcs around the store whenever I'm in the area just so no one will falsely accuse me of running out the door without paying.

This is one more way in which I'm not normal. I know I had a receipt. Shut up.

Eventually I found the car. I drove home and tried to convince Shaila that the lack of lemon juice was ‘Lulu’s' fault. She didn't say anything, but judging from the way she shook her head in disgust, I think she really hates that store.

5 Response to "An assignment done quite well...."

  1. shivani Says:

    Hahaha! that was hilarious but can well imagine.Was seeing you standing near the cans stacked high and looks like that of 'Thoughtful Einstein'.
    Enjoyed this one of yours...once again very well portrayed.
    Loved the last line...cool. :)

  2. Tandarin Nike Says:

    Hehehe Shivani, this is an excellent strategy for avoiding most of tasks I don't like. If one does them incompetently, people are very unlikely to ask again to do them in the future. Or only when there is no other choice. If I had gotten the lemon juice, I would have successfully completed the mission and would have proven competent to do it again.
    Since I failed, I think I will not be chosen for the task until the next time there is no choice but to allot the task to me. Hehehehe... just joking.
    This is a real life humor which actually happened. Hope Shaila does not read my above strategy & plan a counter strategy.

  3. Thought(s) of an old man Says:

    Your sense of humor is best expressed in this blog. I always, without fail ask the attender at the store where to find my favourite tea and when he shows, I grumble why these people go on changing the locations only to hear the attender saying, - no sir, it has been there for at least last six months!
    And thanks for revealing one of your personality traits to Shivani; maybe, I use it to blackmail whenever I want something done by you...hehehe.. just joking!

  4. Tandarin Nike Says:

    Frankly speaking, Bhavaji, I would love to do anything for you, blackmail or no blackmail. Shopping has never been my forte and hence I leave it totally to Shaila. Shopping for me means strolling through the various sections of the store and picking up things as I see them. Most of the times, as Shaila puts it, it is good money down the drain. Now that's another personality trait you could blackmail me on.

  5. Blogger Says:

    3 Studies REVEAL Why Coconut Oil Kills Fat.

    This means that you literally kill fat by eating coconut fats (also coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 studies from major medicinal journals are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world around!

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