I shop much less frequently at grocery stores. I’m talking about the stores with the miles of aisle, where they hide the milk in the back of the store to tempt your impulses and where there are sixteen different types of mustard but none of the brown deli mustard you used to regularly buy there.
Gone are the days where there were just a handful of big box grocery chains in town. Now there are options that include those huge traditional stores with pharmacies and tons of prepared foods to small specialty stores or the independent butcher shop and bread shop and fish shop and cheese shop in the market. I buy my milk at the gas station when I run out–there is no line. I prefer the eggs at the Saturday morning farmers market. I can hustle in and out of the small independent organic grocer to grab an onion and enough green beans for tonight.
The big stores don’t carry my favorite yogurt. Their chicken thighs are as big as my own thigh–no actual chicken would be able to walk on that. The lines are too long. The parking lot too chaotic. And the staff, sometimes, too brusque.
Because there are so many nearby choices now, I don’t have to invest my time and money stocking up. It’s a big change that has happened slowly. More stores, more options and fewer people eating in the house.
The one thing I miss about the big stores, though, is the flowers. The cheap and beautiful roses. The purple or the maroon Alstroemeria with blooms for almost two weeks. The two stems of lilies that provide six or eight massive trumpets. The gerbera daisies with the green straws that hold up their heavy heads. The mixed bunches that shift with the seasons. I would pull out a tablecloth to match.
I’d sometimes buy two or three bunches and grab an assortment of vases, cutting the stems to fit. I’d distribute the sprays in the dining room, the living room and a small bunch in the bathroom. I have no talent for floral arranging, so I sometimes just lean them in the glass all bunched up for a more modern look. You do what you can.
Cheap fresh flowers from the grocery store don’t always open. I have had many a rose bud that stayed tightly wrapped until it became brown and crisp, dropping it’s lowly head down as if exhausted. These become my Corpse Bride bouquet, sitting on the table, somehow managing–only to me I suspect–to maintain a sense of beauty, if not actual beauty.
The flowers are the only thing that I miss from the megastores. And paper goods and cleaning supplies.
It’s good I don’t mind the shrunken head blooms, the falling petals and the crunchy leaves littering my dining room table. Stretching the blossom for an absurd period is a part of my indulgence. I guess I’m still experiencing whatever attracted me in the first place. It’s odd to be loyal to cut flowers, but that’s just my nature.