You know you’ve been a couple for a long time when you find yourselves spending an hour discussing whether or not you need to go to the store.
Once it’s decided that we need to, Crazy Lady co-pilots the trip. Somehow, despite my deplorable driving practices, we manage to safely arrive at the parking lot. I usually like to go only so many rows, then park. I like to do it because it serves two purposes. I get to park close enough to satisfy me, and because The Navigator is not consulted, like a burr under a horse blanket, it makes Penelope of the Parking Lot inform me that she always parks in such and such a row (for the 3,000th time). If I’m dumb enough to comment back, which I usually am, it triggers a tirade about how my parking choice makes absolutely no sense, followed by the female logic of why. Oh, lucky me.
Stores also seem to serve two purposes for couples. The first is obvious, the second is secret. As we move from aisle to aisle, couples carefully observe the people who come into our line of sight. Using our peripheral vision first (side-eye), we size folks up while pretending to browse the selection of garbanzo beans. This is ‘covert socialization’. Covert socialization allows us to mingle with people, but without having to actually interact with them. We can judge their character, parenting skills and fashion sense with a glance, and by doing so, enjoy a secret sense of power. Back to the first reason. Couples sometimes like to shop differently. I like to fly through aisles, plucking products from shelves like they are on branches of a plant. However, Countess of Carts insists we travel at “Cathie pace”. Doing my best not to scream obscenities as smirking snails zoom by us, I shuffle along like a 90 year old man, while Iwanna Lookalot examines stuff she has absolutely no intention of buying.
But, there are other things that couples have in common. One thing that we both dislike, are those trudging troglodyte trolls who somehow manage to block entire aisles, then stand there like they don’t have a care in the world, and jack their jaws yapping to whole other groups of trudging troglodyte trolls. What the heck is up with these idiots? Can they not see the huge crowds damming up on both sides of them? They’re darn lucky that it ain’t legal to zap their butts with a cattle prod, because I’d be a’lighting ‘em up, left, right and center. Then, of course, there’s also the incredibly brain dead couples who, in aisles where there’s only one other cart, stop right beside it, then walk away to fetch a product. They make me wish that my cart had cart-to-cart missiles, or that there was a guillotine kiosk at the front doors. Legally, all I can do is ‘bump’ their cart out of the way, so I do, then pray that they are stupid enough to say something.
Once we have got everything, it’s time to do the ‘check-out chicken’, joining the stream of other customers and couples jockeying for the fastest cashier line, bobbing heads, bending over to look around, stretching necks to look over, and spinning carts like we are in a bizarre square dance. Then, once we have endured six price checks, screaming children and have spent our life savings, it’s back to the parking lot for another driver education lesson all the way home.