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I’ve recently found myself with more time on my hands. Naturally, I’ve been spending a lot that time at the grocery store.

Is this only a phenomenon for me and my family? Whenever I’m working 1.5 jobs and not sleeping, I go into food-based organizational hyperdrive. I plot meal plans, make a grocery list for the whole week (two if I’m feeling super awesome), and shop with the precision and drive of THE Ohio State University’s marching band at halftime. With all the pomp and “Smoke on the Water,” too, kittens.

I’m not in hyperdrive anymore, however, which means that I’ve been to the grocery store nearly every day for the last week, each time with the precision and drive of my beagle when one of her legs has fallen asleep during a nap.

Do I need anything? Hardly, though I always manage to leave with a single beet or yet another set of nail clippers.

It’s happening.

Slowly, but surely, I’m becoming my grandfather.

Because, somedays, I just “want to see what the leeks look like.”

And I do.

My new favorite day to check on the status of the Belgian Endive and rotisserie chicken selection (which included all flavor options but BBQ last time – get it together, Kroger) is Senior Day.

Once upon a time, I hated Senior Day. So great was my loathing that, if I needed food on a day that just happened to be Senior Day, I would go to Target and risk emptying my bank account on a cart full of items ranging from yoga pants to new Swiffers to umbrellas, just because they were on endcaps.

And God forbid I fall ill and need to pick up a prescription on Senior Day. I would do it, but I would think really pissy thoughts as I waited in line behind a woman picking up 43 prescriptions, all of which are absolutely necessary for the preservation of her life.

What can I say? I was an asshole. Actually, no. I was still classified as a “youth.”

Youths are assholes.

If that wasn’t enough for you:

Ah, Schmidty. I’d marry you if you didn’t say words like “hair chut-en-y.” And you were a real person.

…..and I weren’t already married.

My days of pissing people off because I’m young and inconsiderate are done, however, and to that, I say “Good riddance.” Senior Day is now, frankly, one of the highlights of my week. Because wisdom. Though, the automatic 15% discount doesn’t hurt. I may not get to partake in the free day-old danish and pastries, but I do get to absorb some savvy and experience through osmosis. (I think I remember this being a thing from 7th grade science. Science nerds, don’t judge. I’m just a regular nerd with an addiction to fine paper goods and cartoons.)

If I weren’t spending my Wednesdays around troops of gaggling octogenarians, I never would have been privy to the moment where I received ultimate wisdom and understanding.

My Senior Day grocery trip began with the best intentions to peruse the imported cheeses for a Manager’s Special gouda and then self-loathe for a while in the chip aisle. Because P90X3.

The tell-tale signs of Senior Day were present. The parking lot was full of Lincolns, Buicks, and Cadillacs. The tiny carts were all gone.

The produce section, however, was deserted.

The imported cheese aisle was deserted.

I met only one person in the chip aisle – another woman in yoga pants looking incredibly peckish and annoyed, cradling a bag of Ruffles in her hands and muttering under her breath what sounded like “F*ck you, lovehandles. F*ck you.”

This is remarkably similar to what I say when in that position, only replace the “lovehandles” with “Tony Horton” or, if I’ve been working out with my husband that day, his name. He’s an extroverted exerciser and wants to pump everyone up to his level. I, on the other hand, am an introverted exerciser who just wants to do the workout and plot the demise of the instructor and his/her instructor all the while. Though, that’s a story for another day.

Where were the seniors? How would I know whether the milk was priced properly without their commentary? How would I spot a good Manager’s Special without seeing a flock of people rifling madly through the tilapia bin? I began to panic that I was wrong for thinking the kids from my high school were full of shit for believing in that “Left Behind” nonsense and instinctively grabbed for a jumbo bag of garlic croutons. Because, in the apocalypse, I definitely don’t want to be without a bag of food that will cause me terrible agony.

You can imagine my relief to discover that those kids from my high school were, in fact, full of shit when I found every senior in the store in the toilet paper aisle. Given the number of pocket calculators present, it seems that I’ve been buying toilet paper all wrong. Calculating not just the price per sheet, but the price per ply, these savvy seniors were not going to be swindled by the bath tissue oligarchy. 

A man leaned over to me and said, “Don’t pay attention to the penny pinchers. Trust me. If you want to be good to your downstairs business, this is the stuff to use. It’s got ripples. They’re great at grabbing things. You can’t take too good of care of that downstairs business, gal.”

It was, at once, the creepiest and most considerate thing any man has ever said to me.

You might think it odd that the most important, potentially life-altering decision of Senior Day rests in the toilet paper aisle. Considering how my colon’s reliability and, let’s be honest, loyalty have dwindled over the past few years, however, I don’t find it so crazy. If I make it to 80, you bet your downstairs business I’ll be really interested in how “grabby” my tissue is. I imagine I’m not alone.

Of course, if that recently published NASA study is correct, it won’t matter since we’ll all be taking care of our downstairs business with leaves or shreds of our former civilization.

Or we’ll all be dead of measles. #You’reAnIdiotKristinCavallari

There’s a metaphor in there somewhere. Granted, it’s probably more of an analogy – a really shitty one (no pun intended) like when high school comp students write things like “She was as unhappy as when someone puts your cake out in the rain, and all the sweet green icing flows down and then you lose the recipe, and on top of that you can’t sing worth a damn.” [source]

It’s there nonetheless, however. I’ll try to parce it out today while I’m following my fearless, senior leaders to the best bargains on foods and goods that I most assuredly don’t need. 

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