Going to the grocery store is often a daily thing for me, for I do not like to store much food in my house. I shop, cook/bake, we eat and I shop again. Actually, I go to several different places for different things. The big discount box store concept has lost its appeal in my world. Yes, it is faster, and yes, my ego gets a huge boost just from glancing at some of the other shoppers, but still, it just rubs me raw to buy seasonal blueberries in the same place I fetch toilet paper. Plus, the official grocery store( I will call it Big A) I frequent most often has a HUGE parking lot that makes me sad. There is not one sprig of a tree gracing the place. It is large enough to land a 747 in a pinch, and it is strangely hilly, for draining the swampland I suppose. At certain times of the day (or night, actually), cars can be seen swirling around in disregard of the designated parking rows as though the place was a bumper car attraction at a two bit carnival. No one cares. No one stops me them from indulging in the thrill of a no-rules-concrete-playground for licensed adults. And did I mention that there are multiple unsavory types lurking about at any given hour? Well, there are. But oddly, I keep going back anyway. Because going to a different official grocery store would mean that I have to cross major intersections of traffic and, well, even in my little town, I just can’t do that on a daily basis. So I keep going back to Big A. Also, I like chatting it up with Shirletha, who usually works register #4. “Hi Ms. Anderson! I like your hair.” She doesn’t eye me suspiciously when I tell her that I brought my own bags either. Some of the cashiers look at me as though I am speaking in tongues. One cashier tried to talk me into taking her bags till I finally just blurted out, “No, I will just use my own, thanks! That is the way we do it at home on Mars, so that is what I am used to.” Ha ha ha ha. That shut her up. I think that she wasn’t really sure……..The good news is that this store recently started sporting a baby fleet of new pint sized double decker shopping carts that I just love. They are made of some crazy lightweight futuristic material that doesn’t rust. Imagine. No more navigating the old dinosaurs that are the size of 1978 Cadillacs and pump out the rhythms of the entire percussion section of a high school jazz combo. You know the ones I am talking about. Steering one of those bad boys from aisle 1A to 3B requires the concentration and muscle control of a WWII fighter pilot facing a controlled nosedive into the Pacific. So anyway, I avoid big grocery stores in lieu of my favorite farmers market, the dollar store and the seafood market. I like to go where everybody knows my name and, in a pinch, they can even guess what I am cooking on that day. Sometimes though, I miss Shirletha and the little techno-carts. And sometimes, just a little bit, I miss the big parking lot.