Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Am A Shopping Cart Voyeur

Here I am pushing my shopping cart and out of the corner of my eye I see a few double rolls cascading down from a chin and lapping over his collar. The 'he' in question is just another chance encounter at the supermarket, and I find myself struggling with my eyes to keep them from overtly scanning up and down his body and then inspecting the contents of his grocery cart. I just can't help myself, so I must admit my character flaw; I just have to see what's in that cart those huge flabby arms are pushing. I reposition myself at an angle behind him pretending to peruse the shelves while my eyes dart back and forth noting the beer, fat laden bacon and white bread, TV. Dinners, potato chips, cookies and not a single lonely veggie in the lot.

I next spot a woman who's bottom half is so disproportional to her top half that an uninvited flash of amusement whips through my head followed by the squelching power of stabs of shame as for a moment I imagine myself in her shoes. I wonder how one deals with accepting their state; not thinking about it and moving on with life as if everything's just dandy. There's not much in her cart; little bottles of fruit punch bound in shrink wrap, canned soup and a packaged salad consisting of iceberg lettuce and a few smatterings of orange and purple from the carrots and cabbage. Maybe she's misguidedly trying to eat healthy, their not enough evidence to tell.

I walk past acne from ear to ear on the face of a skinny teen in the candy isle, and watch a bunch of kids, I'd say between four and eleven, excitedly pointing and reaching for dry cereal boxes with colorful labels with endearing characters clearly designed to grab a child's imagination. Their mom still has a middle smaller than her hips and shoulders, but she's well padded in excess body fat. She gives in to the pressure, tossing in boxes past the babies head who is twisting around in her seat to coo at the pictures of leprechauns, smiling tigers and a huge floppy eared bunny rabbit.

I decide to find a few people who appear to be in good shape. There are a few, but none in my age bracket. The past fifty group seems entirely overcome by flab; but on the positive side, since virtually everyone is out of shape, no one stands out.

I find a feeling of sad resignation gripping me as I consider this little sampling of the American population; but then a stunning women walks by. I'm sure she has had more than her share of unwanted attention, so I've got to be careful to save myself from an embarrassing moment. Yes, she's got my attention. I've got to see what's in her grocery cart. I think that this might take a while, but I manage to pass her several times, well spaced out out so as not to appear to be following. She has cucumbers, peppers, leaf lettuce, lean meat and yogurt; oranges, apples,bananas and other items largely from the produce section.

These kind of observations repeat often and the unscientific survey yields the same results: what people look like corresponds directly to what they have in their grocery basket, rather a person is pear shaped, basketball shaped or Greek statue shape.

OK., so I'm making most of this up. No, I'm really not doing something as creepy as stalking a woman at the supermarket, but the peeking at what's in peoples shopping carts and noting how that relates to their overall shape, yeah, I do that. I guess that makes me a shopping cart peeping tom. In the grocery store I see shopping carts full of unprocessed food is usually being pushed by someone in noticeably better shape than the average. What I'm saying might be considered one of those: “duh, no kidding Sherlock” issues; but if it's such common knowledge, why are so few shopping carts full of produce, and so many stuffed with boxes and cellophane packages of factory spewed poisonous discharges advertisers like to call food.

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