If I had a blog, today I would write about the oddity that is my shopping cart.
It never fails. Every time I go to the store the cashier comments on the contents of my cart. Usually the comments are curious, but friendly, and I can see why my cart draws attention. Even in a world where you can by Twinkies and horror movies in the same store, my shopping habits are a little out of the ordinary.
In the top basket you will find fishing worms: Big, fat Canadian nightcrawlers, no wimpy red wigglers here. Their presence usually results in the comment, “Gonna go fishin’ this weekend?”
“No,” I reply, “they are for my box turtle.”
Blank stare, possibly accompanied by a, “Uh-Huh.”
“You see we have this box turtle that got run over in our garage a few years back and although we saved his life, he can’t use his back legs properly and can’t go back to the wild. He lives in a big terrarium in our spare room.”
Out of the bottom of the cart come four big bags of dried mealworms.
Male and female cashiers alike handle the vacuum sealed bags with their fingertips and say something to the effect of, “Eew. What eats these?”
Since there are bluebirds printed all over the packaging, the question seems rather unnecessary, but since the answer isn’t bluebirds, I proceed with, “They are for my pet duck.”
“Well, we used to have a whole flock of ducks that were free range, but three years ago, a coyote family ate all but one and now he lives in the barn with our rooster and the mealworms give him good protein.”
Then I extract two bags of dry cat food, different brands, and a box of wet cat food.
“Wow, you must have a lot of cats,” says the cashier.
“I have four, but one has an environmental sensitivity and can’t eat cat food that contains wheat gluten or corn.”
By the time we get to the more banal pet items, the cashier’s interest has waned. She scans the cat litter, dry dog food, wet dog food, and black oil sunflower seed without comment.
At last we come to a few packages of human food: Ice cream, bread, milk, and the like. It accounts for about one-quarter of the grocery bill.
I try to make light of the situation, “I spend more on my animals than I do on myself,” I say with a self-deprecating smile.
My mission complete, I wheel my cart-full across the parking lot and heft my purchases into the car. Occasionally an older gentleman will ask if I need help loading the 50 pound bags of bird seed and dog food. By the time I’ve thanked him and politely declined, he can see the rest of my purchases.
“Gonna go fishin’ this weekend?” he asks.
“Uh-huh,” I reply.