Three years ago fresh out of college I was working on state-level political campaigns as a “field operative.” This was a really cool way of saying that I had to do a lot of door-to-door campaigning and cold calling on behalf of guys who didn’t want to or care to know my name.
It was long days for very little pay and not much time to do anything other than drink oneself into a coma every night after organizing half-wit volunteers or writing yet another op-ed for some local newspaper with a readership of less than fifty people.
Needless to say, this wasn’t the most healthy period of my life. I was chain-smoking cigarettes, drinking every night with guys who had the same title as me, subsisting entirely on takeout, and relying on a crazy fast metabolism to justify never going to the gym.
I got out of that election cycle with a new appreciation for people who spend their entire careers in politics and vowed to never work on a campaign again unless the money was right. I learned a lot in the eight months that I was working that job, but I can honestly tell you the biggest takeaway I got from it was that I needed to take better care of myself.
I started hitting the gym regularly again. Cigarettes became a thing reserved for the weekends (although I think I probably need to quit altogether here in the next couple of months). Most importantly, though? I realized that people age, and with age comes a slower metabolism.
I vowed that I would stop eating so much fried food. Maybe work in a vegetable or two and eat some fucking grains. And I do. But this push to become a healthy eater is difficult, and it’s turned me into a something I’m not sure I like. I’m a grocery store guy now.
Am I still eating Chick Fil A, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s? Of course I am, although it’s usually once or twice a month on a late Saturday afternoon when I’ve been drinking for four or five hours. Fast food is fucking delicious, there is no denying that. But I honestly prefer getting stuff from the grocery store now.
Last week, I went to the grocery store on five different days. In case you weren’t counting, there are seven days in a week. My parents who are now empty nesters and very much retired are the only people I know who go to the grocery store more than that. They mob out at their local Whole Foods once or twice a day just hoping they’ll run into another couple who are doing the same thing they are. In any case, I think most of you can agree that 5 for 7 on grocery store trips is crazy for someone my age. I’m just going to go sometimes.
I’ll find any excuse under God’s green Earth to go to my local supermarket. “Oh, man. Looks like I’ve got a little bit less than half of a tube of toothpaste left. Better hit the grosh after work tonight and spend thirty minutes ogling girls and maybe remembering that the entire reason I went was to buy some Colgate.”
I went to the grocery store last night after work. I wasn’t even thinking about it as I got off of the train, walked right on by my front door, and walked to the supermarket a few blocks from my apartment. We’re all in a little bit of a haze after a Monday at work. I had been half-listening to an episode of This American Life and by the time I got through the front door of the store I couldn’t even remember why I went.
I walked around the various aisles aimlessly for fifteen or twenty minutes, bought a pint of ice cream and some cereal and then went home. I’m going to the grocery store more than I go to the bar or gym and a lot of the time I’m buying two, maybe three items tops. The grocery store is heroin for me. It’s a warm blanket in an otherwise cold, dark world. Do I have a problem? Maybe so. But I know a ton of people who have the same affliction and none of us can figure out what to do about it. It’s become a part of my routine, much like taking a shower or flossing everyday.
I can get a glass of red wine and peruse fresh cuts of fish at the same damn time. I can bring my laptop, buy a six dollar latte, and use the free wifi for as long as I want. There are an endless amount of attractive women just hanging out at any given time. I’m a “hit the grocery store every day” guy now and I guess I don’t see it changing anytime soon. I need help..
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