Saturday, May 26, 2007

To Market, To Market

This morning I took oldest and youngest boys grocery shopping after middle boy left for a friend's cabin for the weekend. Oldest likes to cook, and besides he's put me on a diet. It's a humbling experience negotiating with your teen-aged son over the cholesterol count in a package of Chinese sausages. I'm told that I can have 1/2 of one this weekend if I behave.

We also squabble over my desire to make Frito pie. I told him he doesn't know good living. He told me I'm an idiot. I consider it a draw.

In the meantime Youngest was apparently sniffing glue. Chattering incoherently, he finds the bucket of basketball-sized rubber balls, dribbles down the chip aisle, whirls, and hits a three-pointer over the head of an old lady.

"Knock it off," I hiss before apologizing to the woman. "What the hell's wrong with you?"

We get to the next aisle where he starts pawing through the different cereals, looking for the most repulsive. Jackpot! Chocolate chip cookie cereal.

"Can I get it?" he pleads.

"No, don't let him," says Oldest. "That stuff's disgusting."

"Yes it is," I say. "So what?"

"He's going to get fat and stupid if he eats that junk."

Youngest pipes in, "I am not. Dad's the fat one."

Oldest nods as if conceding the point.

"Buy the cereal, I don't care." I'm willing to go along with the fiction that the vitamin spray they use on this crap counterbalances the rest of the poisons in the box. We've only been there five minutes and I already just want to get home.

Two aisles later Oldest pushes the grocery cart into the back of Youngest's legs. Knocks him down in front of the spices.

"It was an accident," Oldest hollers as his brother leaps up and prepares to attack.

"It was a goddamn accident because you were screwing around," I growl as I pin back Youngest's arms. "Knock it the hell off."

"That's bullcrap!" shrieks Oldest. "I was not screwing around. It was him. You always take his side because you love him better."

"He does not," says Youngest. "He hates me. He loves the middle one best."

"You're right, he does," says Oldest. Now that they've recalled their common enemy they've made peace with each other again.

I glare. "Both of you stop it. I swear to God I'm going to sell you to gypsies."

Youngest takes the opportunity to slip into the next aisle and grab a handful of candy. "Can we get these?" he asks.

"No. Put them back."

"You never get us anything."

I gesture at the cart, filled with chocolate chip cookie cereal, Oreos, Cheez-its, and $50 worth of other garbage. "Fine, I'll put all this back then."

That momentarily silences him and he returns the candy to the shelf.

We get to the produce aisle and I look at the apricots and plums. Youngest stands beside me making gagging noises.

"Can you behave for 30 freaking seconds?" I ask. He goes into some kind of Tae Kwon Do stance and begins stalking me. I wave one hand at him, trying to maintain a defensive perimeter, while I squeeze fruit with the other. Oldest has abandoned us, concerned that one of a classmate will happen by and think he and I are related. He doesn't seem to realize I'm no more happy about that than he is.

Finally we get checked out and back to the car. I load the groceries in the trunk and drive out of the parking lot.

We get home and my Lovely Bride is sitting at the kitchen table having lunch. "Your youngest son is a pinhead," I tell her. She shrugs and goes back to her soup. There's a reason she lets me do the shopping.


Anonymous said...

How on earth did I forget about Frito pie??? You have to follow it up with Ritz, Mock Apple for dessert.

Righteous Bubba said...

"You're right, he does," says Oldest. Now that they've recalled their common enemy they've made peace with each other again.

Does this work with kids and pets? I really don't want more kids but it seems like a handy technique.

Chuckles said...

This reminds me of a moment in my childhood when I thought all my problesm were solved. The moment when an old gypsy woman offered to buy my younger brother for two cans of coffee and any rug my father chose. My dad actually asked to see the rugs. My mother was less amused than the rest of us were.