In a previous post, Single Male With Kids, I cleverly joked about pick-up lines I could use to meet women at the grocery store. I teased about how I could use the children to approach a woman in the grocery store and ask her name and phone number.
As it turns out, my attempt at humor really happened to me, except I wasn’t trying to pick-up a woman nor was she wanting to be “picked-up.”
I desperately needed to go to the grocery store one day. In fact, my desperation to go to the store exceeded my discretion in taking the children with me. Needless to say, our whole family went to the grocery store!
Things went as well as could be expected when you are dragging two preschoolers around the grocery store doing some major grocery shopping. That is, until I couldn’t find the frozen peaches.
As long as I had kept moving, the kids didn’t have a chance to linger and grab things off a shelf or wander away from me. But when I stopped in the frozen food aisle to search for frozen peaches, that’s when things started to unravel.
I became exasperated because I was finding every kind of frozen fruit on earth in the freezer–mangoes, pineapples, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, mixed fruit–except the most common frozen fruit on earth–peaches. And the more exasperated I got, the more determined I became to search through every bag of frozen fruit in that freezer until I found a bag of frozen peaches.
When I finally pulled my head out of the freezer after examining dozens of frozen fruit packages to no avail, I noticed that the kids had wandered further down the frozen food aisle and were engaged in a conversation with an attractive lady driving a motorized shopping cart.
She had apparently stopped along one side of the aisle to look in one of the freezers when the children came upon her. As I strolled up with my shopping cart (and no peaches) the children were asking her how to make the motorized cart move forward and backward:
“If you push this button, which way does it go?” asked Kaleb as the lady pushed the button and made the cart lurch forward.
“If you push this button, which way does it go?” asked Kenzie as the lady pushed the button and made the cart ease backwards.
The lady then just sat there in her now motionless cart smiling and patiently responding to all their questions.
“What is this for?” asked Kaleb as he grabbed at the walking cane beside her on the cart.
I pushed his hands away and apologized for his rudeness. The woman laughed and said she had grandchildren of her own.
“Why are you riding on this cart?” asked Kenzie.
“Because I broke my leg,” answered the nice lady.
Then she pulled her pants leg up to her knee on her left leg and showed the children the stitches where she had broken her leg.
Well, that sealed the friendship for them. She was no longer a stranger; she was their bosom buddy. She had a scar on her leg and drove around the store in a motorized shopping cart. She was their new BFF!
And, that’s the point when they began to invite this heretofore unknown woman, their new-found friend that we just met in the grocery store, over to our house!
Have I mentioned that at school the kids have to learn to say their home address? It’s like one of the qualifications for passing Pre-K and Kindergarten.
So they have memorized our home address and began to recite it to her…repeatedly…to be sure she knew precisely where we lived and could find her way to our house.
“We live at 311… It’s a brick house so the big bad wolf can’t blow it down. When are you going to come over?” they asked their new friend.
Of course, I was embarrassed and humiliated. My cleverness had finally turned on me. It was just supposed to be a joke in a blog post, not actually happen in real life! And besides, in my version, they were supposed to ask her address and phone number, not give out mine.
So, I tried to exit the area with my shopping cart full of groceries and two preschoolers in tow as quickly as possible.
But the kids weren’t ready to leave this interesting new friend behind without ensuring they would meet again. They weren’t leaving until they were certain she knew where we lived. They had a new friend, possibly a soul-mate, and they insisted that she must come to our house.
Undoubtedly, they believed that when she came to our house she would drive over in her battery-powered shopping cart and take them for a ride, maybe even let them drive it!
And if that wasn’t enough humiliation, as I tried for a second time to retreat from this scene, dragging the kids with me, they called out my cell phone number to the woman.
Have I mentioned that I taught the kids my cell phone number so they could tell the police to call me if we ever got separated?
While I’m making my escape, the woman’s husband came walking up. She had probably sent him on an errand to find some grocery item on another aisle.
He looked at her then looked at me then looked at her then looked at the kids.
As I hurried away, trying to disappear quickly among the freezers in the frozen meats section, I heard him ask his incapacitated wife:
“Who are those kids?”
“Is that guy bothering you?”