By Laura Grimes
“Why are we parking here?” (Mr. Scatter is of the misperception that another part of the parking lot is better.)
“So we can walk through the lake on the sidewalk to get to the store safely.”
I scanned the grocery list as we stepped around puddles in the light rain on our way to the One-Stop Shopping Mart.
“I think I’ll get a separate basket because I need to get some things that you won’t want to deal with.”
As if to be helpful and save me the embarrassment of explaining further, Mr. Scatter quickly jumped in.
Let’s run that by again. Women. Troubles. T-R-O-U-B-L-E-S. Like a curse, a damning fate that women are forever plagued to suffer, hellishly tormented, poor victims caught in an unceasing eddy of torture and misfortune.
If only he knew the half of it.
Mr. Scatter picked out a cart and then I looked around for a basket. And looked around some more. I looked in the foyer. I looked inside the entrance. I looked at the nearby checkout counters. I looked in every conceivable place where a customer could pick up a simple container to be able to conveniently load up on multiple items. (Obviously a store interested in selling their stuff and I interested in buying their stuff do not have the same goals.)
“Where in the (blazes) are all the baskets?” I said loudly to Mr. Scatter, but at a strategic pitch for the security cameras and any employee within hearing distance. “Of course there aren’t any because it’s only first thing in the morning and there are only three entrances where they might be.”
Giving up, Mr. Scatter and I looked over the list to figure out how to divvy it up. I started jotting down “my” items on a notepad.
Next to which I put a special notation.
“Soft Mink?” Mr. Scatter asked incredulously.
“I can’t make this stuff up.” I reminded myself about how he was trying to be helpful earlier and save me the embarrassment of explaining further. I tried to send him a telepathic note, namely concentrating on the list and ignoring him, but I wasn’t sure he got the message.
“They really have names like ‘Soft Mink?'”
Clearly, telepathy wasn’t working. I tried a different tack.
“Don’t get any cauliflower. If I have any more I’m going to choke.”
The list divvied, Mr. Scatter took off for the bulk coffee and IÂ found an unwieldy cart that constantly pulled to the right. After a too-long stop in electronics (anyone who has ever worked with Mr. Scatter knows why I didn’t have him come with me), I unwieldily wheeled off in search of the Troubles, also known as makeup (not to be confused with Northern Ireland).
I buy very few cosmetics, once every several years. Those companies that advertise in Cosmo? They hate me. The feeling is mutual. Now I know why I buy their products only once every several years (and don’t own any of their stock).
Soft Mink … Soft Mink …
I found the right blush display (among many) below my knees. The labels were in tiny type that ran sideways on misshapen wrappers wound around each package. They could barely be read with a magnifying glass. A couple of blush types were written on clear labels and couldn’t be read unless I put them close enough to my face to make me cross-eyed.
I had to pull out each blush to be able to read it. A stiff spring pushed the rest of the containers forward so that I had to battle with the whole row to put back each blush that didn’t say “Soft Mink.” Repeat. Many times over. This is called the “Chorus.”
Searching for Soft Mink required bending way over and holding a yoga pose for a long period of time.
Soft Sable (Chorus)
Close, but not the right non-PETA type.
Snow Plum (Chorus)
I can’t read these damn things.
True Plum (Chorus)
I have to squat down.
Deep Plum (Chorus)
It’s got to be here.
Plum Plush (Chorus)
Christ, how many plums can there be?
Plumberry Glow (Chorus)
Hope the morning’s English muffin stays down.
Iced Cappuccino (Chorus)
What’s with the food already?
Cinnamon Toast (Chorus)
I could have just eaten this stuff for breakfast.
Rose Silk (Chorus)
My legs are killing me.
Rock ‘N Rose (Chorus)
Really written like that?
Brick Rose (Chorus)
I have to kneel on the floor.
Natural Rose (Chorus)
Finally, a decent name.
Natural Twinkle (Chorus)
Sierra Sands (Chorus)
This is never going to end.
Pretty Peach (Chorus)
My knees are asleep.
Classic Pink (Chorus)
I can’t believe this is happening.
Golden Pink (Chorus)
It’s not here, is it?
Slightly relieved and slightly hyperventilating, I found another section of blush types in bigger containers.
Iced Plum (Chorus)
Rose Silk (Chorus)
Didn’t I already see that one?
Natural Glow (Chorus)
Only one more to go …
Yes! Thankfully, it looked like an orangeish-roseish powder and not a neurotic furry animal. The package said it’s made with “good-for-your-skin ingredients.” I read the name repeatedly, not believing my luck that the same type was still being produced. Soft Mink Soft Mink Soft Mink. Like bras, the general law of cosmetics is that once you discover something that works, it is immediately discontinued. I was elated that I had defied the law of cosmetics!
Then I tried to get up. I couldn’t feel my legs. I had to lean on the unwieldy cart that constantly pulled to the right and resist the urge to be grateful for it. I limped in the direction of the feminine hygiene products and asked myself, I wonder what Mr. Scatter would call those?
ILLUSTRATION: “Clown Face With Blush” by Small Large Smelly Boy, circa 2010, color marker.