I never knew grocery shopping could be scary… but it is! Oh how I dread grocery shopping now! Franprix and ED. The two most dreaded places for me to go in France (besides the post office). These are two popular grocery stores here that I shop at regularly. You would think that after almost eight months I would have a little confidence walking into these stores. Oh, but I don’t. Nope. I am scared. I pretend I am confident as I walk in with my head held high, tightly gripping my woven shopping bag being careful not to knock anything down. I learned that the very first time I went grocery shopping by myself.
If you know me, you know that I am not the most graceful person around. I am actually quite clumsy. I am always running into, dropping, knocking, bumping, and tripping over things. So, my very first time shopping by myself I was a little nervous. Everything was going pretty well and I was managing to find all the things I needed. Then I turned down the skinny little juice isle, but realized that I didn’t need juice. Being the rushed American that I am, I turned around quickly wanting to get out as soon as possible. From here everything happened in slow motion (so just picture it that way)!! As I am turning around, my bag knocks over a large GLASS bottle of juice. Oh yes! It fell and shattered EVERYWHERE! The crash on the floor was so loud that I knew everyone had heard what had just happened (the store is only the size of an American mini mart). The French man standing beside me did not offer a helping hand or look at me as though he felt bad. NO! He instead glared at me and huffed and puffed as though I had just punched him in the face. Yep. He looked at me with disgust. Oh my face turned bright red! I didn’t know if I should tell someone (which I couldn’t because I didn’t speak French) or just leave it. Finally a young French girl told me it was ok and to just leave it. So I did. I left shattered glass all over the isle just waiting for a small child to run through and cut himself. Yep. I did!!!
You would think that I would learn my lesson and FORCE myself to be more graceful, but I just can’t. I just can’t do it. Last week after a hard staff meeting I had to stop by the store and pick up some tomatoes. I thought I would at least be able to handle this since I only needed to get one thing. Nope. I couldn’t handle it at all. While picking out my tomatoes, I somehow knocked the WHOLE box of tomatoes onto the floor. They rolled every which way. As I was scurrying around picking the tomatoes up there was only one more to get and I as I turned to pick it up a very sophisticated French woman’s high heel stepped down on top of it. She gave me a look of horror. Instead of acting apologetic this time, I looked at her like, "there is nothing I can do about it, so get over it." She did not react rude, but turned and continued her shopping. It still threw me off a little even though I acted as though it didn’t. I sort of wandered the store for a couple minutes, then returned my plastic sac of tomatoes to the box and left. Yes, I left the store. I couldn’t handle it.
So at least for me, grocery shopping is scary. Not so much because it is so different than the states, because I have definitely knocked my fair share of things over there too! But in the states, someone would have said, "don’t worry about it" or they would have stopped to help me pick it up. Here, I just don’t know what to expect. Will I have a man who glares at me and makes huffy puffy noises? Or will it be a sophisticated woman who is annoyed at first, but then just walks away? Even though I am not a graceful person… all I really want from other people when shopping is GRACE! I need it!
I am working on my fear of grocery stores. Today I went and was successful. Well, almost. But that is a story for another time!