I’m mentally jabbing this guy’s eyeballs out before he can even lock the door of his car in the Ingles parking lot. Call it a trigger reaction, but seriously—he’s got these jeans on that accentuate his non-ass and the cuffs slosh across the wet parking lot tripping up his fake black leather boots. And his t-shirt? Well, that’s the trigger reaction part: TENNESSEE HOTTIES, it reads in block print, and beneath the lettering is a box of eight pornographic photos, women clad in strings of panties presenting their asses and breasts into the air as if they were cats in heat. As a final low-blow, he tosses his still-glowing cigarette into the parking lot and scuffs his way through the automatic doors. I’m sorry, but where I’m from, that could be a $500 fine.
I’m not three feet behind him in the produce section when it strikes me that what this is really about is missing home. I’ve just driven 17 miles one way to buy groceries in a dry county. By the time I’ve loaded up and driven back home, I’ll be out $4.50 in gas and 60 minutes driving time. Back home, it would have been well under a buck for gas (round trip) and 15 minutes total driving time to get to Barbur Foods and back. And yes, I could have bought wine there. Or beer. Or both.
I cut my cart over to the chip aisle to dodge any potential grocery-cart-rage that might come exploding out of me and onto this man, and there I see the lovely Kettle Chips display. I buy a bag of them, from Salem, Oregon. I return to produce and buy Stemilt organic apples from Wenatchee, Washington (where my freshman year roommate grew up and not far from where I went to college). I buy organic sweet potatoes from southern California and spinach from the same farm. I head to the frozen section and buy Soy Delicious ice cream from Eugene, Oregon and consider my quench for home moderately satisfied.
In the car, I turn on the radio and there is Death Cab for Cutie, a Seattle-based rock band.
I drive home there is the quiet, the spaciousness, the lime green of spring, and like a bad mood that just lifts away, there is absolutely nothing to complain about.