I have a tendency to spy on the conveyor belt while waiting in line at the grocery store. I entertain myself with hyper-personal stories and scenes of the people ahead and behind me based solely on their grocery purchases.
Medium-sized frozen vegetable lasagna, one roll (not two), box of tea.
Single man, possibly a divorceé, sitting in a well lived-in one bedroom apartment, surrounded by walls of books. He listens to gritty jazz, wears patterned dress socks and keeps his apartment extra warm (utilities are included). He isn’t unhappy, but isn’t happy either; he just lives and is waiting for something, anything, to amend the mundane routine. He eats half the lasagna and brings the other half to work the next morning. He sips tea (2 cups) from a brown mug, watches 60 Minutes, goes to bed at 11 o’clock and has a knitted quilt-like blanket on the back of his couch. He also has a large number of keys on his key ring.
Meat department chicken with bones, sprouts, broccoli, celery, carrots, black forest cake, 4L tub of No Name vanilla ice cream.
Woman with an only child, age 8; passionless but comfortable marriage, close with extended family. She hasn’t blow-dried her hair in years, and what little make-up she once wore, she stopped wearing 3 weeks after her husband proposed. She has been to her home country (elsewhere), and Canada, but nowhere else. She likes country music. The kitchen in their house has laminate flooring, mismatched dishes and dated cupboards, but she is proud of it all, and should be. Three generations eat chicken stir-fry in the formal dining room that gets used about 4 times a year. It is her mother’s birthday so the woman splurged on the cake because she knows it is her favourite. The ice cream sits in the chest freezer, only to be brought out at the end of summer, full of icy freezer burn. They eat it anyway.