2002-06-05 - 11:05 a.m.

I’m not a picky eater, at least not intentionally, it’s just that things need to be perfect and without a trace of anything that would gross me out if I thought too hard about it for me to eat them. I am finding that there are increasingly fewer and fewer things I can eat now. It is because of my “gross out” factor that I found myself at the grocery store tonight looking disdainfully at the shelves of hot cereal. There is no longer anything at work, at least nothing nutritious, that I can eat. I can’t eat eggs anymore unless I make them at home with cage free, organic eggs and I have to separate all the ropy looking fiber stuff and the yolk from the white. My whites must be perfectly clear or I start gagging. And I can’t eat oatmeal at work because I am too afraid that someone might spit in it. Not that I have ever seen anyone do that, but the fear resides in me because I know the cooks HATE making oatmeal. And I can’t eat pancakes anymore either because I have to have butter for them but I can no longer eat the butter at work because it is a margarine/butter mix and I have recently developed a very solid abhorrence for chemicals.

So there I stand, my legs and arms covered in dirt because when I decided to go to the store I was knee deep in soil in the garden. I must have been talking to myself. I must have been making faces because a HUGE, leather coat and chaps wearing fellow with wild long white hair and a scar across his forehead stopped at the end of the aisle and looked quizzically at me. Then he took a few gruff steps towards me and stopped.

“You having problems?” he asks.

I’m shocked into silence, this guy is not only HUGE, but he’s scary looking as well. You can just tell this guy doesn’t come home from work at 5 PM and put his bedroom slippers on to read the paper. This guy works third shift and during the day he rides his Harley around with a rat hanging from his lips. “Uh, they don’t seem to have chocolate Malt-O-Meal,” I tell him in a quiet voice.

“Let me look,” he orders while I step away. He carefully peruses the shelves with his index finger extended and scanning the rows of boxes. “They sure don’t have that, they have the maple and brown sugar though,” he tells me with a scowl.

“But I want the chocolate,” I whine.

He pulls himself to full height and looks around for a stocker. I’m afraid he’s going to beat the crap out of one if he finds one. I’m very very afraid. I can just see the headlines. “Biker beats stocker to death for forgetting to stock Chocolate Malt-O-Meal for local girl.” Yikes. I start to tell him it’s okay, I don’t care, I’ll just eat oatmeal with spit for breakfast but he puts his hand on my shoulder and says, “You know, CoCo Wheats are just as good as Malt-O-Meal if you know how to cook ‘em right.”

“What?” I ask with a mild disbelief, did this huge biker guy who probably ate children for dinner just say, “CoCo Wheats”? That somehow just doesn’t seem like a word that should be coming from his mouth.

“Well, if you add the CoCo Wheats SLOWLY to the water and you add brown sugar before, they taste just as good,” his hand is still nestled on my shoulder.

Based on his recommendation and instructions I placed the CoCo Wheats in my basket, thanked him and impishly said, “If I don’t like them I’m holding you accountable and I WILL come after you,” I tell him with a grateful and still surprised smile on my face.

He got all bashful then, this HUGE and SCARY biker guy got all bashful and cute. He said, “You just make sure to add them SLOWLY to the water or they get all clumpy,” his hand grips my shoulder gently and he turned away to continue shopping.

When I got to the checkout lane I encountered him again, this time he was picking through the Pez dispenser display. This made me chuckle. I had the vision of this mean and scary biker guy, his belly full from CoCo Wheats, rumbling down the road with a Kermit the Frog Pez dispenser cocked and ready.


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