I live in California, a hottish kind of a place.
Because I am American, I have a refridgerator the size of a coffin in my kitchen. It is standard fare and comes with the building.
Because I am English, I insist upon sorting my purchases at the check out. At the check out, they play Russian roulette with my groceries and toss them all willy nilly into bags.
Because I am Irish, I do not need my 10 lb sack of potatoes placed in a flimsy little plastic bag. Because I am Scottish, I use every money off voucher I can lay hands on. Since all Brits are really German, Picts and Danes because WASPs died out years ago, I must insist that like goes with like.
Because my mother in law is Italian, I fold my arms across my chest to stop the wild gesticulations that are bubbling up. I pout at the checker as she mixes frozen spinach with a cereal box and a tub of yoghourt. Does she know nothing? I am sorely tempted to slap her hands away and do it myself, but it is un-American to pack your own bags. Nothing says ‘foreigner’ more loudly that the idiot who packs their own bags. You might as well shoulder your bagpipes and dance the Highland fling in the aisle. There is only so much free thinking and freedom of expression, permitted in the average supermarket.
Because my sister in law is Chinese, I know that I was born in the year of the rodent. I decide I will smile and think ‘om’ thoughts, instead of swearing ‘rats!’
I will not think about the next 60 minutes, where I will collect my children from school with a car full of groceries. We will eventually return home with a car full of warming groceries and sweaty children. The children will run into the house. The bags of shopping will not.
I need to be able to grab two bags on my ‘in flight.’ One will be stuffed into the freezer, one will be shelved in the fridge, still within their bags, for later, probably much later. Everything else, collateral damage, will remain in the car until it is dark and everyone is asleep, except me. In the still of the night I shall unpack my groceries. I do not wish to find thawed spinach, fermenting yoghourt and soggy cereal.
I mop up the slime in the boot of my car in the moonlight, because I am genetically grumpy, and sulk. I think of my daughter in Mozambique, who bathes in the sea to wash, because to collect well water is a time consuming and arduous exercise.
I exchange pout for pleasure, it is a fair trade. I stop sulking and swim up to bed to sleep a few sweet dreams.