I went to Trader Joe's tonight.
This was my third visit to the new Portland store, or rather my second visit out of three attempts. The first time it was insanely rainy, and I eventually found a parking spot. It was around 4 in the afternoon, which is clearly not the time to go. Next I tried going after picking Lucy up from school, on a slightly rainy day, but we gave up because she had a lot of homework to do.
Tonight, after Church Council, I decided to swing by on my way home. I think I had the vague notion that I would pick up some kind of late night snack, since I have to take RA meds in the evening that require food to be eaten at the same time.
You would have thought a pumpkin farm had exploded at TJ's. Everywhere I looked, there was every kind of pumpkin: canned, waffle mix, soup, cheesecake, even pumpkin ice cream. I was looking for the pumpkin muffin mix I bought on my first trip, but I didn't find it. Instead I put some organic canned pumpkin in my basket, and a box of cinnamon coffee cake mix, and a carton of turkey broth.
A sign by the front door invited me to discuss fresh turkeys with the butcher, but all I found was a display, with no obvious place you could talk to a person. I looked at the fresh turkeys (we're looking for one that is all-natural, for a variety of reasons, but mostly because they taste better) and wondered what's up with the brining? I don't even know why you brine a turkey. I hope someone will explain it. I found non-brined turkeys, too, but clearly in the TJ's world, brining is preferable.
I wandered up and down the frozen aisle, but I didn't pick out anything there. It was getting later, and I had no idea what I wanted.
The wine department at TJ's is HUGE. A big sign invited me to buy a FRUITY! DRINKABLE! Beaujolais Nouveau. Given that I tried to buy one last year and was too late, I put a bottle in my basket. It was not a Two Buck Chuck. (Is that what they call it?) I paid the also-not-so-high price of $8.99, which would not have happened at Whole Foods. They claimed it's perfect paired with turkey. We shall see. #1 Son will have to help me decide.
There weren't very many people in the store, but one of them was the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He seemed incongruous, wandering around just like me. I guess I think of TJ's as a place for people like me, but what do I mean? Mainstream liberals with a reasonable number of children who don't mind being touched by people of the opposite sex except when they do mind it? Clergy with graduate degrees who worked thirteen hours today and probably ought to be in bed by now? Short women who grew up in the South but transplanted to the Northeast and proved winter hardy?
(It's possible I'm having a little identity crisis. )
Once the rebbe and I were in the pastoral services office together at the hospital, and I forgot the rules he lives by, even though I knew them somewhere in the back of my mind. I was looking through the patient listing to find a church member. I looked on the denominational lists for Protestant and Congregational, and somewhere I found my person's name, and I wrote the room number on a piece of scrap paper from the basket on the desk, using a pen the hospital provided. He was standing not far from me in the little office, and I got up from the desk, to make the list available to him, and without thinking, I handed him the pen. He looked shocked, really appalled, and I got away as quickly as possible.
When I came back to the frozen aisle, I found him holding a carton of pumpkin ice cream, no doubt contemplating the apparent pumpkin explosion.
I moved to the other side of the frozen aisle, gingerly.
Then he sneezed, all over the ice cream compartment.
I never found a snack. I came home and had some cereal that was already on the shelf in my kitchen.