This was it. I had finally made it!
I stood by the entrance to the supermarket for the first time in my life. I was holding a shopping basket, a box of crayons and a taxidermied frog. I knew that only one of those items was likely to prove useful, but I had to be ready for anything.
As soon as I walked in I realised I was in way over my head. Purchasable items were not arranged conveniently in a 6 x 6 grid for my perusal like they were when I shopped online. Instead, they were stacked neatly into countless shelves that were forming an impossible labyrinthian pattern.
I would not be deterred, I decided, and informed a nearby shopper of my determination, by screaming “I will not be deterred” at him and swinging the taxidermied frog in his general direction for added effect. The man jumped backwards and knocked over a stand filled with chocolate bars. Embarrassing way to behave in a supermarket, as far as I was concerned, but I wasn’t going to judge him. I had better things to do.
I was on a mission: to bring home a jar of bacon-flavoured marmalade that my girlfriend had asked for. I was sure she had asked for it, because I could clearly recall her mentioning both bacon and marmalade at some point in our mutual coexistence. She would get her wish, even if it killed me. Especially if it killed me. No wait, that couldn’t be right.
As I cautiously proceeded forward through the maze of shelves, I caught sight of a suspicious lady standing by a tiny table. The table was covered with what appeared to be crackers topped with creamy, cheese-like substance. Every few moments she would pick up one of the crackers and thrust it at passers by, screaming what I had no doubt were obscenities of some sort. I needed to avoid this lady at all costs, but unfortunately the maze of shelves offered no alternate route. I bravely pushed on, bracing myself for her attack and my subsequent retaliation.
“Here, have a Philadelphia cracker!” the lady screamed aggressively in a quiet voice, while smiling at me.
“You’re not the boss of me!” I retorted and flipped her table over to show her just how much of my boss she wasn’t.
For some reason the supermarket crowd didn’t support me in my quest to defend myself. Some of them even attempted to intervene by issuing combative threats in the form of “Please don’t do that”, “Take it easy” and the like. It became very clear to me that I was fighting a losing battle, so I sprinted away from the scene to escape undue attention and regroup.
My plight wasn’t quite over, as somebody seemed to have called a member of the supermarket staff. I was approached by a woman wearing a badge with the name of the supermarket on it. She started accusing me of everything from disturbing the peace, destroying property and scaring other shoppers. I was going to have to win her over with my well reasoned and calmly delivered argumentation.
“I am an adult and I demand to be treated like one!” I declared, making sure my voice carried an air of authority and sophistication.
“OK, sir, but first I’ll have to ask you to please climb out of the meat freezer.”
Reluctantly, I climbed out of my temporary sanctuary. Assorted packets of meat still clung to my jacket as I did so. A rather large crowd had gathered around the freezer and I saw a few of the people point at me and snicker. That’s when I understood what was happening: this whole situation was an elaborate charade to ridicule me. I was on candid camera. I’d have to show my appreciation for this ruse and win them over with my charming personality.
“Ha!”, I said.
“Ha, ha!”, I added, after some thought.
“Ha Ha Ha HA!”, I cackled wildly to really drive home the point.
The supermarket woman started making gestures that indicated she wanted me to quiet down. People were now whispering to each other while giving me strange glances. A part of me started to suspect that this was not a charade after all. I had to deal with this awkward moment in a mature and dignified way.
I ripped off the loose packets of meat that hung from my jacket, flung them into the crowd as a distraction, and ran through the winding maze of shelves towards the exit. On my way out I grabbed a pack of bacon and a jar of strawberry jam. My girlfriend would have to make her own bacon marmalade at home this time around.
I stopped running when I realised nobody was pursuing me. I was close to home now, so I chose to complete the remaining 23 kilometres on foot.
When I arrived home I kicked open the front door and held the jar of strawberry jam and the bacon triumphantly up over my head.
“I am home!” I yelled, “I have the bacon and the jam you wanted!”
My girlfriend lifted her head from the book she was reading and said:
“First of all, please stop kicking in the door. We’ve talked about that. Secondly, I didn’t ask for any bacon or jam. All I did was ask you to go downstairs to pick up the newspapers. You’ve been gone for 5 whole hours now. It’s less than the last time when you punched that sheep, but not by much. Thirdly, you have to promise me that…”
“DAMNIT!” I screamed, “My crayons and the frog are still in the meat freezer! I must go recover them!”
“Shockingly, nothing in that sentence surprises me,” she said.
I placed the strawberry jam and the bacon on the kitchen table and bolted out the door.