I took my daughter to the grocery store on Saturday, through a bit of reluctance and dismay. Teenagers like to eat and they like to shop, but they do not like to shop for what they eat. Then again, neither do I, but I digress….
A third of the way through the store, she’d had enough. She jumped on the front of the grocery cart and perched herself on the front edge of the wagon, sitting so she had a bird’s eye view of where we were going, but I definitely did not.
In each aisle, I struggled with the steering challenge involved when 95-ish pounds perches itself at the very front of the cart. There is no going around corners in a quick and efficient manner.
As I carefully steered around other shoppers, we attracted stares from curious children who contemplated my daughter’s seat on the cart. Perhaps they thought what she was doing looked awesome, but clearly weren’t sure it was something a kid should be doing. I cringed and turned the cart in the other direction, trying not avoid locking eyes with their parents, the ones who likely would not approve of a teenager—even a small one—riding around the store perched on the front of a grocery cart.
But then we turned into aisle 9. We passed two men shopping together; they looked to be around 30, I would say. One was pushing the cart when he noticed my daughter. “Oh,” he feigned surprise, his face remaining dead serious—almost disgusted. “I didn’t know we could ride on the wagon.” He looked at his friend. “Hop on!” He commanded, and his friend—easily twice the size of my daughter—assumed a position on the front of their cart.
They took off down the aisle. “We’re going to race you in aisle 12!” the cart pusher called out over his shoulder. “That gives us a couple of aisles to practice!” The two men careened around the corner and were gone.
For a split second, the competitive impulse in me was awakened, and I wondered if my daughter and I could really beat these men in a race down aisle 12. And then I snapped out of it. This was the supermarket on a Saturday. There was no way aisle 12 would be clear enough for shopping, never mind a race.
I sighed, abandoning my reverie, and put some muscle into pushing my cumbersome cart. Yet in that ten second interchange, an otherwise ordinary grocery trip had been transformed. My mood had lightened, and I had a renewed sense of fun. Maybe I would meet up with these two in aisle 12… if not today, maybe another day!
[image credit: Freeimages.com / Suzanne van Hattum]