Grocery Shopping in Slow Motion

June 15, 2015

Our trip to the grocery store wasn’t long. Maybe 20 minutes.

Buying Bread

Wheat Ciabata bread, I reached for in the bakery, had green mold on it.  Since there was nobody  in the bakery  I carried the bread to the Customer Service. Robert didn’t mind. He followed me waiting patiently as I was showing the clerk what was wrong. This experience sufficed to make me change decision and buy bread in the “industrial” bread section.  Robert didn’t like those breads and as I took a loaf of oatmeal bread from the shelf, he loudly protested, “No, no,no!” He was afraid I would demand that he eats that bread. I tried to calm him down by explaining that this is bread for me, not for him. He wasn’t convinced, and discharged another series of, “no, no,no.” I repeated my assurances and he calmed down letting me put this version of American Cotton Bread in the shopping card.

No Potatoes but Cheese.

Robert eats only Idaho or Russet potatoes. Because he eats skin too, I tend to buy organic Idaho, believing they are healthier.   Except the store didn’t have them. The store had  Organic Golden and Organic Red, but no Organic Russet.  Robert hesitated and then picked up a bag of non-organic Russet. I wasn’t sure if we should buy them or not.  I had only $35 cash, and wanted Robert to pay with cash and not with his debit card. So I told Robert, “We still have potatoes at home. Please, put them back.”  Robert took a bag.  I watched him from a short distance.  He went to the middle of the shelf, bent down, and put the bag in the same place he took it from just two minutes before.

As we were passing by dairy section, I reminded Robert that we needed mozzarella cheese for his poblano. He took one package, placed it in the cart. Then he picked it up again as if wanting to put it back.  He looked at me expectantly. “We need cheese for poblano”. I said. Robert mozzarella to the cart only to pick it up again and look hesitantly at me.  I repeated my previous words two more time, as I walked farther away from the dairy section. Robert followed me and returned the cheese to the cart.

Green Tea Expedition

“What else do you need?”

“Green Tea”, said Robert.

“Green Tea is where the water is kept”, I said as we reached water and juice aisle.

“You have to go by yourself.  I will wait here.”

Robert went to the end of the aisle and grab a plastic bottle of Arizona Green Tea. He was walking back toward me with a proud smile on his face, as if he were bringing golden fleece from successful expedition to Colchis. And it was then when I realized how suffocating my close presence has to be for Robert.  how much he needs and wants a little more room for growth and independence.

Money, Money, Money

Robert passed all of the groceries through the scanning machine.  Only once he hesitated what to do when he couldn’t find a bar-code on a bag of grapes. he kept turning and looking. I stopped bagging and came to point to the number code on the bag.  Robert entered it and tried to reach for his debit card.

“We are paying today with cash”, I said as I handed Robert paper bills. Robert fed the dollars to the machine which swallowed them all returning only 10c back. We finished shopping.  At least I thought so.  But not Robert.  He was used to paying with his debit card, and leaving the store without paying with a debit card seemed wrong to Robert.  He didn’t want to leave. He was standing by the scanner, and when I told him we had to go, he became upset.  He “ran” his fingers through his ears and made a few disgruntled noises. “We used cash today,  You paid with dollar bills.  You didn’t need your card” I believed that those words would calm him down.  They didn’t.  they only reminded Robert that the rules of paying had been broken, So he ran his fingers again and again through his ears – sure sign of frustration.  But I kept repeating and walking from the register.  Robert followed and calmed down.

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