Saturday morning, I woke early. It was 8:00 when my eyes popped open, and it was nearly impossible for me to force them closed. Knowing that 8:00AM is far too early to move about on a day in which I do not have to work, I fumbled for my remote and turned on the TV. DirecTV's guide informed me that VH1's Top Twenty countdown was on, and so I made my way there.
I sort of hoped to just spend the morning doing what I haven't done in months: Lie in bed, watch VH1, drink coffee and zone out. But by number 17 of the countdown, my laundry pile got the best of me. The over-flowing hamper stared at me from the corner of of the room, calling out "if you don't do this now, you won't have any clothes to wear on Monday." It was true. For two weekends in a row, I have packed my time solid, scheduling even drive time and meals. Between friends and appointments and social obligations, I had allowed my clothes to remain unwashed and my room uncleaned. So I pried myself from the warm sheets, threw on my robe, and started washing clothes.
But I couldn't just wash clothes and not clean the room itself, so I began the horrifying task of straightening my room. It's only horrifying because I am horrible at throwing things away when I am finished with them (I save all of my receipts, even after I have checked them off of my credit card statement or entered them into my check register...Just in case. Just in case of what, I do not know.) and terrible at putting things back where I found them. Coats were tossed onto a chair, instead of hung up in the downstairs coat closet where they belong. CDs that have been moved from my car into the house rest atop the stereo, the cases and discs themselves utterly and hopelessly mismatched. Notes to myself reminding me to add dinner on Tuesday to my calendar and to call Austin sit piled on one of two bedside tables. Black stilettos litter the room: Knee-High boots, ankle high boots, work pumps, going out pumps. Because my closet is in another room entirely, things have a way of staying on my floor when I come home from a late night. Taking it in all at once is too much. So I started at the bed and worked my way out as laundry tumbled in the dryer in the next room.
When my room was sufficiently tidy, I went downstairs and re-cleaned the already clean kitchen while my coffee dripped into the pot. I perused the Shop Rite flyer to figure out what I'd like to buy at the grocery store. Pasta? Of course. (4 for $2?!? You almost have to buy some at that price!) Sauce? Why not. Minute Rice? Yup. Instant oatmeal? Naturally. Coffee? A must. Digorno Microwave Pizza? I'll give it a whirl; I'm feeling wild.
After two cups of coffee, four loads of laundry, a long shower and the getting-ready-routine, I headed out the door to Montague, NJ for some food shopping. My grocery-purchasing jaunts always find me in the same mood: Calm, in no hurry and with low frustration levels. This attitude is necessary since it seems like everyone in the tri-state area visits the same Shop Rite. It's important to me to have a quiet lunch alone before I brave Shop Rite and, luckily for me, my favorite pizza place is located right next to the grocery store. So I brought one of my favorite books (David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day) to read during lunch.
After two delicious slices and a side of sauce, I made my way into Shop Rite. Traffic jams of carts and families clogged the aisles. It was while I was by the meat that I noticed three young boys, fourteen or fifteen years old, looking at me in that oversexed-prepubescent sort of way. They wore T-shirts at least three sizes too big, half-tucked into pants that barely covered their boxer-clad asses, and bright white sneakers. Generic hats sat on their heads, the brim offering shade to only one eye instead of both. They were constantly fiddling with the hat's position. Do I like it better covering my left eye, or my right? And as they moved the hat from side to side, I caught them stealing glances at me. They trailed behind their mother, but kept turning around, watching me examine the ground beef and the chicken thighs. Pretty soon, I noticed that they were coincidentally in every aisle I was in: Baking goods, cereal, breads, snacks, even the "feminine needs." They found a reason to be in each section, sans mother, and always found their way to be within five feet of me. I watched them come down the toilet paper aisle, all non-chalant like they were looking for something, then settle right next to me. They made jokes to each other about buying toilet paper - that they should get as many packs as they could carry and walk around the store with them, how funny that would be - while I tried to do math in my head (let's see...$4.92 for 8 rolls is how much per roll...$0.61...). I couldn't help but smile, thinking of how flattered I was that the three boys had actually thought to follow me around the store...
Until I realized that maybe they were just waiting for a moment in which I left my purse unguarded.
I checked that my wallet was still nestled inside my black bag, then scurried out of the toilet paper aisle and into the more heavily populated frozen foods section. But, once again, there they were, playing with bags of frozen peas and laughing loudly enough to draw my attention. With my eyes on my purse, I made my final selections and headed toward the checkout.
I was, however, forced to walk past the boys in order to pay for my groceries and leave the store. I straightened my back and strode past them, eager to look unaffected.
I heard a whistle.
Then, "You are so hot."
I smiled in spite myself. And here I thought they were just after my purse.