One of my favorite words has long been grocery--though it's a very mundane thing, it has all the sounds I like. Hard g, soft c, and the fun combination of r/y right at the end. They don't really say grocery here that often, people refer to it as 'the market', which is unfortunate, because market is a word I decidedly dislike. Or, quite often, people will say Winn-Dixie, which is the chain we have. I'm ok with the Winn, but not a fan of the Dixie. I'll be honest, I'm not really a fan of Winn-Dixie the store at all, because they don't carry lentils. I love lentils. You have to ask, what kind of grocery store doesn't sell lentils? It's a staple food. It was what I was banking on for the nights when I don't feel like crafting gourmet meals. Surprisingly that's only about 30% of the time, but still. I needed them, but the South apparently prioritizes red beans, the origins of which I'm still confused about. I always thought that 'red bean' was a fun, colloquial term for whatever a red bean really is. Except no one knows what it really is. It's just a red bean. I don't trust them for a second.

What the grocery store has really sparked in me is a return back to my elementary school obsessive compulsive personification habit, which I have mentioned here before but in terms of how that applies to numbers, not food. Every trip to the grocery store is like walking through a Heinz advertisement, where the fridge opens up and all the fruits and vegetables are talking to each other. I guess I shouldn't say that--I haven't hit that level of crazy yet. But I do enjoy walking down every aisle debating the various merits of food items, which include but are not limited to price consideration, nutritional value, and whether or not I have a good feeling about that particular vegetable.

It certainly livens up my grocery store experience, but mostly annoys everyone I go to the grocery store with as I often get distracted and wander off. It also means I get the most random assortment of food items when I eventually reach the checkout counter--there is no rhyme or reason. There is only gut instinct.

Bow tie pasta over spaghetti--spaghetti is a dour, matronly aunt while bow tie pasta is the fun uncle. Red peppers over green peppers because red peppers are clever and probably tell great jokes. Bananas and not apples--apples are mean-spirited. Also, they will only make you hungrier. Trust me. Or ask my Dad. Black beans know how to take calculated risks, cheddar cheese over provolone because provolone is snooty, Greek yogurt is smart but not arrogant, oatmeal has that maternal instinct, granola--all about the outdoors. The list goes on and on.

I make a lot of decisions based more on how I feel and less on reason or practicality, like most well-functioning people probably do. I'm not exactly sure but I feel like that's how my sister operates, and if she's not well-functioning than there's really no hope for the rest of us. Rarely do I go wrong when trusting my inner sense of direction, unless that direction brings me to the Boot. Sometimes it happens. But more often than not, my sixth sense (not the Haley Joel Osment Child Freak Kind, because that would be terrifying) does not steer me wrong--not when it comes to food, numbers*, people, situations, life decisions, shoe purchases, and pretty much every area of my life.

I haven't had a bad friend yet. I haven't starved yet. I haven't ended up in a ditch somewhere in central Louisiana.** I have successfully avoided teen pregnancy. I am not a statistic. I have never bought shoes full price. In fact last weekend I bought a pair of Steve Maddens for $10.98, originally $79.99. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, retailers of America.

I trust my gut in all things, and rarely do I waver in between. Isn't life just a series of trade-offs anyway? Maybe someday I'll shop with a grocery list, but for now I'm delighted with the challenge that I'm faced with every time dinner comes around, which can be anywhere between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. if you live like I do. That's with zero to no schedule, unless I'm being graded for it or paid for it.

No one pays me to eat although I wish they would, because I'll be damned if every food production company in the world isn't robbing me blind. Those grocery store prices are pushing me hard in the direction of living off my 4x4 square plot of dirt behind the cave that I call home, where I can grow my own sassy vegetables in peace and prosperity. But that's a story for a different day. I'll probably save the whole dropping-out-of-society-and-living-on-a-farming-commune thing for my thirties.

xoxo, Lauren

*just kidding, my gut instinct always steers me wrong when it comes to numbers. That's because I usually unabashedly shout out whatever number comes into my head, eliciting blank stares and the occasional, are you kidding me? Which I laugh off and say, of course! but by that time hopefully everyone is shocked out of the previous conversation. How interesting can it be, really, if you're doing math problems? The alternative route is where I automatically issue, What? anytime anyone asks me a direct math question in order to buy me some time to try and figure out whatever the question is by using long division, the only kind of math operation I'm comfortable in. **I would add a yet to this for continuity's sake, but I can't plant that seed in my parents' heads. Their faith in my decision-making system isn't as complete as mine is. This I know for sure.