How to Be Alone: Grocery Shopping

I was sitting at work thinking critically about my writing and the same question kept coming to me, Does it matter? Sure most everything I write is both hilarious and insightful, but am I making as big of a difference as I could? Therefore I have decided to evolve my writing and attempt to not just entertain, but educate. The question is, what can I teach people? While I have extensive knowledge about sports, sociology, movies, whittling, the stock market, and Lost lore, anything I talked about would be derivative to just about every other blog out there. I had to think beyond the box. What, in my nearly 27 years, could I know more about than most anyone else that has yet to be run into the ground. Then it hit me…being alone.

I’m not talking about ‘hermit in a cave’ version of being alone, that shit is for pussies. I’m talking about the being alone where you have to interact with people that are in serious relationships on a regular basis. The type of alone where the older you get the more these people feel sorry for you and start trying to fix you up with their other alone friends despite that being your only commonality. I’m referring to being alone in modern America.

I decided my first instructional blog would be about one of the most common activities a person does, grocery shopping.

The main step to grocery shopping as a single person is to not have a plan. Plans are for those saps with families. They spend every waking moment planning. By having a life of solitude you don’t have to worry about how every decision you make effects approximately 2.5 other people. You are avoiding the stress (and subsequent stomach ulcers) that come with questions like: How are we going to pay for both our cars getting oil changes this month? Which families are we going to see on which day for Thanksgiving and Christmas? What are we going to do this weekend to occupy our hell spawn children? What meal can I cook my husband to get him to look away from football for 15 minutes just so he’ll notice my new haircut?

Going into the store without a plan can be a scary prospect. Here are solutions to a few of the most asked questions.

What if I forget something?
Who cares? You are alone remember. You can go to the store anytime you want later. You don’t have to ask permission, explain yourself, or worry about who is going to watch your kids every time you leave the house. Just go get it on the way home from work the next day.

If it makes you feel more comfortable then follow this outline:
– Breakfast: For simplicity sake it can be just a box of cereal and a half gallon of milk. DO NOT buy a whole gallon. If you are one of those weirdos that drinks milk with their dinner like you’re 5, please stop that. Buy some kind of alcoholic beverage and drink that with dinner like an adult. Seriously. You’re embarrassing yourself with that milk at dinner bullshit.
– Lunch: Buy bread, buy whatever deli meat you like, buy crackers or chips. You’re welcome.
– Dinner: My suggestion for dinner is to learn how to make 3 easy things with any amount of edibility and buy those every time you hit the store. Then you can either eat out/order in or get microwave dinners to fill out the rest of the week. If you are one of those people who likes to “experiment” with cooking just remember this, you alone have to clean up after yourself.
– Alcohol: You’re not Don Draper. Just buy the cheapest thing you like. Unlike at the bar when you order some complicated or expensive thing overly loud in a vain hope that the girl in the slutty skirt will think you’re more interesting than you actually are, you are probably drinking these drinks alone or with buddies. In case you didn’t realize, if you are drinking expensive scotch by yourself you are a tool. If you are drinking martinis during Monday Night Football your friends will inform you of your tool status.

What if I don’t buy the right proportion?
The golden rule is if you don’t know how much you are going to use, then buy half of what you think you’ll need. This is where planning can bite you in the ass. When you plan at the grocery store you have these grandiose illusions that you are not a lazy bastard. You think to yourself about all the wonderful meals you will be making complete with fruit and vegetable sides. Then Tuesday rolls around and you are tired after sitting on your ass all day at work and just get Wendy’s on the way home. Thursday comes and someone wants to go grab a bite with you which sounds way better than whatever mediocre sludge you were going to concoct, and suddenly half the stuff you bought at the store is stale or rotting. Remember, you can always make a quick trip to the store if you run out early. Here are a few other rules to follow:

– Unless you are having a cookout, don’t buy buns. Just use your one loaf of bread for everything bun related. You’ll have 5 stale buns, and half a loaf of stale bread in your pantry if you have both.
– Never buy more than 3 of any fruit, and never buy more than 3 different types of fruit. The only thing that depreciates more than vehicles the second they leave the lot is fruit. If you want to eat a banana everyday for breakfast you better start liking the taste of unripe bananas or find a fruit stand to visit every 3 days.
– Don’t buy 2 liter sodas. They’ll go flat before you drink the entire thing but you’ll never throw it out. Eventually you’ll have no room in your refrigerator because those monolithic bottles will be taking up all the spots for tall objects.
– Never more than half a gallon of milk. Seriously if I find out you drink milk for dinner I’m going to pound your face in.
– Never more than a pint of ice cream. I know as lonely people we have a predisposition to eating ice cream in the dark as we watch our favorite sad movie and get in a good cry. Let’s just keep our depression at a pint shall we? If we get into gallon or more levels of depression it becomes harder to hide and then the extended family starts to get involved. That’s why we’re alone in the first place, because we don’t want people poking around in our shit…and because we’re socially awkward.

I don’t think I can trust myself to buy the right stuff?
Similar to the concept of the milk just be an adult. I know that vegetables are gross but we have to eat them sometimes. “But Ryan I like vegetables.” No you don’t you liar. Nobody likes vegetables. The only reason people even talk about vegetables they like is because it seems like a pseudo-adult conversations that you can safely have with your significant other when you don’t want to discuss anything of depth (see also: weather).

What he says: “Oh this is some of the best broccoli I’ve ever had.”
What he’s thinking: Man I hope she didn’t tell her girlfriends about my premature “accident” from last night. Especially Charlotte. She’s got a big damn mouth and everyone would know by the weekend.

What she says: “I’ve really developed a taste for lima beans.”
What she’s thinking: I wish these gross things slowed down aging. When did I get so old? It doesn’t even matter. I stuck married to this fat oaf for the rest of my disappointing life. At least Project Runway is on tonight.

Nobody really likes vegetables enough to talk about them. We just have an easier time shoving certain types down our maws so we can get their health benefits. Those then become the ones we “like.” Just make a salad for lunch a few times a week and fill it with those vegetables you “like.” You’d probably be healthier if you ate them a fair amount every day, but it’s simply not going to happen unless we have someone forcing them on us (like a parent or significant other).

What about desserts?
A benefit of being alone is we don’t have people breathing down our necks about eating right. One of the disadvantages however is we don’t have the luxury of letting ourselves go. Assuming you ever want to get laid I would suggest you take it easy on the sweet treats. This is actually easier to do than many people think. It’s a little known fact that the only thing that’s stronger than cravings for sweets is one’s propensity to be lazy. So all you have to do is not buy much in the ways of dessert when you go grocery shopping. When you cravings hit later in the week you will be able to ignore them easier because you won’t think it’s worth it to put on jeans to go to the store. You’d rather continue to sit in your underwear and watch TV.

With those tips you should be on the fast track to grocery shopping for one with a high amount of success. Feel free to share this advice people who have recently moved out of their parents house, the newly divorced, and the socially crippled that you know to help enrich their lives.

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