Excuse me Miss would you please leave…

This week is Thanksgiving and a lot of blogs are featuring “What I’m Thankful For” or “Thanksgiving Nightmares”, but I’m reminded of something a little more simpler and I would really like this to be an interactive blog today.  I want to know some of your Grocery Store Nightmares!  I can’t be the only one who’s been asked, “Would you please leave?” or have witness something traumatic at the local super market.

One of my first grocery store moments was when I was in Connecticut and very young.  I don’t remember who I was with, but we were in a gourmet food store that has barrels of food amongst the aisles, like soaking dill pickles.  Being the always curious child, I remember sticking my hand in a barrell and it was this nasty thick concoction that reminded me of oatmeal.  It was slimy, chunky and smelled earthy and natural.  I have no idea what it was, but the adult that I was with pulled my arm out of the barrell and had to drag me outside to towel me off.  And to this day I don’t eat oatmeal because of the thick, disgusting texture in that barrell.

Another nightmare was in Norwalk, Connecticut at the big Stew Leonard’s store.  I was in my teens and just recently realized how afraid of people being stomach sick bothered me.  I had disliked it since I was 5, but an experience at school brought that dislike to a fear.  (Yes, Diane, I’m talking about you!)  Anyhow, back to the story, so Stew Leonards;  this woman was shopping intently, looking from her list to the shelves, yelling at the toddler in the top seat of the cart, thoroughly distracted enough not to notice that her older child in the basket of the cart was tossing his cookies out the back.  It was so disgusting!! I remember crying, begging my dad for the keys to the car and running away from the store.

The last story I have and believe me it’s not end of my stories haha 🙂 (seriously, if grocery stores were like doctor’s offices and shared information, I would never be let into one.)  This one is definitely one of my favorite stories, though the manager at Albertson’s in San Diego, California would disagree.  Jon, my husband – then boyfriend, were shopping and being very silly.  We had a cart full of food to bring home and make a nice dinner, when we started charging each other and getting tickle-y.  Laughter filled the aisles and we were like two little kids having a grand ol’ time.  Well, that is until we reached the produce aisle and Jon started to threaten to tickle my very ticklish spot if I didn’t stop going after him.  I kept away from him, walking backwards out of the aisle, fending himoff and that’s when it happened.  I backed into one of those fancy wire racks that hold wine bottles much like this  :and all six bottles of red wine came crashing to the ground one by one as if in slow motion, shattering and spilling cabernet from one side of the aisle to the other.  The sound was defeaning, the mess intense and the shock devestating as the manager ran over to see what  happened.  Jon and I stood quietly to the side as the manager radioed for clean up, his face as beat red as the pooling wine at his feet with anger towards us.  Jon immediately offer to pay for the broken wine bottles, but the man put his hand up and said, “I think it would be best if you would just leave and never come back.”

Without another word, I grabbed my purse out of the full cart of groceries and silently, Jon and I exited Albertsons never to return again.  It was awful… we were so embarrassed!  Now we laugh at it, but that was definitely the topper of grocery store nightmares.

In the comments below, please add some of your favorite grocery store stories, if it is too embarrassing and you want to remain anonymous just make up a name like Cookie Monster or something.  I still want to read it 🙂 .  Enjoy!

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Writing Therapy

One of the best advantages of writing is using words as a tool.  Mainly, as a form of therapy.  You can get past uncomfortable situations, work out aggressions, conquer fears and even let dreams become reality through your words.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I have several fears and weird idiosyncrasies in my life.  My worst fear is that I’m afraid of people, well actually more myself, being stomach sick.  I can’t even say certain words to describe it, like the V word (vomit – that hurt to write that!), I can’t watch movies or shows where it’s present, and I become a shaking mass of jelly if I am near or witness it.  It’s not a pretty sight to see (not the hurl – me freaking out over the hurl, isn’t pretty).

I go to therapy to get over this fear because I am tired of letting it control me.  I hate who I become when I am terrified and I can’t be a good mother to my child with this fear in my life.  For almost a year I have gone to my sessions talking out my problems and how to deal with them as they happen.  But during my last meeting, I told my therapist that when I write my books, I want my characters to be as normal as the everyday person, and often write about them getting sick.  I went so far to tell her that one of my characters, Mack Roberts in Beneath the Wall, chose to become a Marine instead of join the Navy because he suffered from seasickness.  I don’t know if my therapist thought that was weird or not, but it gave her an idea.  First, she asked if I wrote a scene about him being seasick and I said, “No, I just mentioned it.” 

Her reply:  “I want you to write a chapter about him being seasick.”  It doesn’t have to go with the rest of the story, of course, but that’s what she wanted me to do.  I have put off this assignment for weeks now, but finally am biting the bullet and writing it.  It’s gross and a little nerve-racking (considering I stopped writing it to do my blog instead.) But hopefully the consequences will make me a better person.

And as I think about it, how often does writing help us get through situations?  During the worst times in my life, which thankfully there aren’t many, writing has always brought me through.  From being lonely, to hurt, to even betrayed;  I could journal, write lone scenes or short stories, even write a letter just to verbalize how I was feeling even if I never sent it to the person it was intended for. 

Some examples are: I once wrote a love letter to my soulmate when I was so despondent and lonely to find that one perfect love.  I penned a recollection of the intense feelings I felt the morning of September 11, 2001.  And my favorite was this great scene where my character, Julianne, (aka me) beat up a guy because he hurt her and that was totally for the jerk who liked me in law school but cast me aside when I wouldn’t sleep with him.  Idiot! Forever be beaten to a pulp in my novel!  Best of all, when my novel is printed – I will send a copy to my 8th grade English teacher, who was the meanest cuss anyone ever met, Mrs. Peck.  And if she’s no longer living, I will visit her cemetery and bury my book at her gravestone. She told me I would never amount to anything and threatened to hold me back just because I didn’t read her stupid short story about some mountain climber (it was pointless story).  So I didn’t like the assignment, that doesn’t mean she gets the right to tear down my fragile spirit.  May you rest in peace with a copy of my novel buried above your head for eternity! 

See, writing helps move past these feelings… somewhat.

Life Imitates Art?

So often I wonder if I can actually be a novelist for life.  It is definitely something I would love to do for a career and I already consider myself an author despite being professionally published.  But my thoughts do tend to drift to, Ok who wants to read something I wrote, my life is so boring.  I look at myself as a glob of fears, rules, logic, and wet-blanketness.  I like going new places, but hate travelling to get there.  I am borderline germ-a-phobic, complete emetophobic, and could very easily see the appeal of agrophobia.  I lived a sheltered life, my only year of adventure was when I moved to California at the age of 24. I moved into my very own studio apartment, hung out with a cover band and got a tattoo.  Now I know what you are thinking… Wow, she’s a party animal (said in a sarcastic tone.) 

As for guys, I can actually count on all of my digits the amount of people I’ve dated.  Let’s see I think I may even remember their names:  David, Dave, Dan, Shane, Reno, Mike, Paul, Paul, Scott, and Jon.  Ugh is my list really that short?!  What’s even shorter is how many of those I actually kissed.  Yep, told ya – pretty boring.

So why on earth do I think I can write about people who are interesting, bold and dynamic?  How is it even possible that I can come up love stories at all?  I think it comes down to imagination.  Just because I haven’t experienced a lot of romance and am afraid of everything under the sun, doesn’t mean that a normal and fearless person is inside me somewhere.  I read a lot of love stories and watch tons of lovey-dovey movies.  In fact, I have this cute thing I do with my husband where I see a leading man kissing his leading woman and I nudge Jon signifying him to remember that kiss.  Then later I’ll say, “Oh I need a Zorro kiss,” and he’ll dip me back planting a full, passionate kiss right on the lips.  Ahh :). 

Now when I write, I remember those kisses and all those things I wished I could do and have my characters do them for me.  I even allow them to be sick.  Which I find odd, but hey, I won’t puke but I’ll let my Marine soldier not be able to hold his lunch after witnessing a monk setting himself on fire.  (Side note:  my therapist wants me to write a non-related chapter about that same Marine on a boat, since I mentioned once in therapy that he gets sea sick.  She says that writing about hurling over the side of railing might help me get over being afraid – who knows.  I have yet to write it.)

All in all a good imagination can take you far, especially when adventure is the last thing you want to do.  I do still try to do things on my own, just so you don’t think I’m really that boring, but overall I am a homebody and would rather write about someone else.  Hey, it’s what makes me a good writer.  Now my only hope is that others will think so too and want to publish me.  Ahhh someday!