Have you ever noticed that grocery shopping with your significant other is a lot like having tea with enemy soldiers? No?
Perhaps it’s just me.
No. I refuse to accept that I’m the only person who struggles with this. You just don’t want to admit it.
When I moved to Toronto, I had a roommate. He was a good roommate, but eventually we parted ways amicably, and I moved to my very own place in the city. Which was glorious. Total privacy, grocery shopping for just me and the cats, decorating to please myself alone. At times I felt a bit lonely, but I focused on being free, for the first time in a very long time.
There is something about buying groceries that I find ridiculously satisfying. I shan’t even try to explain, just know that I really enjoy it. Some of the stupidest, passionate, and most infuriating fights I’ve ever had revolved around groceries. Now that I live with Boyfriend, I am trying to remove the stick from my ass on this topic, but oh; it’s hard. How do I struggle with this? Let me count the ways.
1. Learning to share – combining two households into one means you have to put each other first. That lone waffle tempting you from the freezer? No longer can you just grab it. You ought to ask if the other person wants it, while secretly hoping they say no. I am convinced that sharing is one of those traits we like to think we have mastered, but take away the audience of friends and family, and we revert back to jungle law: leggo my eggo.
2. Learning to compromise – a rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but compromise is a sanitized way of saying two or more people are in conflict, and to “reach consensus” at least one person must give in. When you like one brand of a particular food, and your better half prefers another brand, you’ll either spend double to buy both, or one person leaves the store unhappy. The battles we had over brand name ketchup versus generic were ridiculous.
How generous I felt on the day I announced that the budget would survive Heinz ketchup. And how infuriated I became, when Boyfriend spurned my gracious offer and said, “It’s okay, the PC ketchup isn’t that bad.” It took me a year of cohabitation to reach that moment and by the time I reached that selfless place, it did not matter.
Some time ago, as I was puttering around the kitchen, I noticed a dirty dish on the wrong side of the counter. Oh yes, there is a right and a wrong side, and I knew I hadn’t put it there. This transgression immediately opened the floodgates to mentally cataloging Boyfriend’s sins against the harmony of cohabitation; the ketchup fight, why is he a toothpaste fascist, is the convenience of pre-sliced bulk mushrooms was worth the expense, is the difference in said price actually worth a knock-down brawl in the grocery store? (This is not the first time I have clashed with a man over mushrooms, who knew they were so inflammatory?)
I had a brief sulk and got back to straightening up the kitchen. The only thing left to do was put away the huge bag of flour we picked up the other day. I hate transferring flour from the bag into the bin, it gets everywhere. I turned around to pick it up. And it was gone.
I looked all over. It wasn’t under the sink, or the microwave. It wasn’t in the living room where I left it. It wasn’t in the closet. I opened the pantry, and there is was, sitting in the flour bin. He must have done this while I was out.
My petty thoughts dissolved in a warm fuzzy glow. The happier you are with life, the more silly things you find to pick at.