Wilhelmsplatz, a small city of about 12,000 people, has two Targets and a Walmart. Does that seem a bit excessive to anyone else?
I would rather die than go to Walmart. (I am using hyperbole, but not by much.) Of course I have all sorts of political and social objections to the store, which is the excuse I use in polite company. In impolite company, I still use the political and social excuses, but I tack on to that Excuse #3: I avoid Walmart because it attracts undesirable people.
“Undesirable people”: at best, this assessment makes me sound like a snob; at worst, it suggests that I’m a card carrying member of the National Socialist party.
Just to be clear, I am neither A) a Nazi nor B) a snob, or at least not too much of one. As it turns out, I’m actually quite comfortable amongst undesirable people, if “undesirable people” means “poor folks.” Given the choice between poor people or rich people, I’ll take the poor people any day.
Nonetheless, in Walmart one is likely to find harried people, people with small children, people with small noisy children, loud people, sullen people, unhappy people, etc. etc., all of whom are trying to get their hands on mass-produced* cheap shit.
*“Mass-produced by wage slaves,” to be exactingly precise.
So instead I go to Target to get my hands on mass-produced cheap shit. I’ve found that the clientele are slightly less noisy, sullen, unhappy, etc. etc. The atmosphere is still depressing, but not as depressing. As for my political and social objections, they still apply, but not quite as much. Anything’s better than Walmart.
I really ought to be going to a small, independent Mom-n-Pop store, but those are not exactly abundant in Wilhelmsplatz, and to my knowledge none of them sell Lean Cuisine frozen entrees, my lunch of choice.
Lean Cuisine frozen entrees, along with their compatriots Healthy Choice frozen entrees and SmartOnes frozen entrees, constitute the variety in my diet, which is appallingly predictable*. Save for the infrequent splurge on dinner out, I eat the same damn thing every day: yogurt for breakfast, microwave thingy for lunch, salad for dinner, cottage cheese and fruit for a snack, Fiber One to munch on for another snack. The various microwave meals give me the illusion of variety.
*Appallingly predictable, but I bet you anything my bowel movements are more regular than yours.
Recently, however, Change Has Happened. Most of my diet I’m perfectly content with, but I’ve had it up to here with salads. More compellingly, I’ve noticed that my salads tend to go bad. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the salads have taken to sprouting. I don’t really fancy eating mold.
Salads comprise ingredients that are healthy, spinach and beans and carrots and tomatoes and so forth. All things being the same, I should like to continue consuming these sorts of ingredients on a regular basis, just without the mold.
So I sat down to think about how one might eat healthy things, if salads proved to be impractical. Now I am a pretty bright cookie, but I could come up with absolutely no solutions, save one:
I would have to start cooking.
For a variety of reasons, I do not cook—chief among them being that I do not know how. In theory, someone who is a self-admitted Pretty Bright Cookie should be able to figure it out. This cookie, unfortunately, though bright, is not patient, nor creative, nor curious, leastaways not if she’s in a kitchen.
Still though. Mold. Ugh.
Anyway, the other day I went to Food Loin and grabbed the same things I always get for my salads. Additionally, I purchased rice and broth.
Then I went home and hunted for the slow cooker. Finally found it in the cabinet above the fridge. No idea how I got it up there in the first place. Getting it down involved acrobatics atop the kitchen counter.
Then I put all the ingredients in the slow cooker, turned it on, and waited eight hours.
The resulting stew was… pretty gross, really. Also, I ruined that poor little slow cooker. The gross stew clung to the sides like a leech to a seventeenth-century medical patient.
(This is why I do not write noir novels. My similes are atrocious.)
So there I was back at Target again today, purchasing a new slow cooker. My uncharacteristically optimistic hope is that I will eventually get the hang of this cooking business, at least far enough to be able to make stew that doesn’t taste yucky.
This, however, leads me to a severe criticism of Target. The checkout folks there just don’t grasp the concept of reusable bags. I was armed with two paper bags (salvaged from somebody’s book donation at the library last week) and my cloth grocery bag.
“Don’t worry, I brought my own bags, I’ll fill them myself,” I said cheerfully. The poor checkout girl was puzzled, but she humored me…
…through one bag. After that was filled, she started trying to put my groceries in plastic.
I’ve trained my baggers at Food Loin to deal with my eccentricity. My checkout clerks at Farm Fresh actually give me a five cent discount for bringing my own bags. But the Target folks just don’t seem to get it.
But I suppose the woman who can’t grasp the basics of cooking is in no position to cast aspersions upon the intellectual capacity of others. If and when I figure out how to make stew, however, my wrath shall be terrible.