For me, grocery shopping is as therapeutic as other forms of shopping. There is something quietly calming about seeing rows and rows of fruits and vegetables neatly arranged side by side on the display shelves. In supermarkets, the oceanic array of food products is enough to put me in a reading frenzy. Trolley in front, you can find me walking down the aisles slowly, eyes intent on the shelves, reading the packaging and quietly marveling at the fact that there is over 18 types of energy bars, and we are only talking about one brand of food item.
"You don't need an apple and cinnamon flavoured energy bar Harry, put it back," my mum told me two weeks ago when we were out in Cold Storage for our routine grocery shopping.
"But I am always feeling lethargic and tired by noon," I reasoned.
"How about eating breakfast in the morning for a start?" my mum sarcastically replied.
"Is this you or is this the menopause talking?" I asked.
My mum threw the energy bar at my face.
"Wake up early tomorrow and follow me to the wet market. I want to get fresh poultry and vegetables," my mum said, pushing the trolley away.
"Why can't you just get it here?" I complained.
"I said fresh," my mum curtly said.
"But Cold Storage IS the fresh food people! That is their tagline," I joked.
My mum stared at me.
So the next day at 7:30 in the morning, my mum and I was up and about and walking around the wet market, much to my annoyance. I was also feeling slightly terrified inside. This is because my mum has a habit of getting into heated verbal arguments with butchers, fishmongers, vegetables and fruit sellers. And dried provision shop owners too if I may add. That is possibly the only typical middled aged woman attribute that she has, but exercised in the wet market with absolute ferocity.
After buying fish, prawns, squids and chicken, we arrived at the vegetable shop. My mum asked the old man manning the shop for 1 kilograms of potatoes. So after he had weighed the potatoes and was putting them inside a plastic bag, my mum held out two $2 dollar notes.
"Six dollars," the uncle said.
"How come? Last week I buy one kilo of potatoes only four dollars. How come so expensive today?" my mum retaliated.
She didn't buy any potatoes last week by the way. It's an age old trick in the book when bargaining for things.
"Last week, last week. This week potatoes expensive already. This one from USA," the uncle explained, rather rudely.
"Don't know which farm you take, you say USA. You know USA where or not uncle?" my mum raised her voice.
"America lah!" the uncle shouted back.
"Are you seriously going to argue with the uncle over two bucks? Everybody is looking!" I said from behind her and handing the uncle another $2 note.
"Don't give him chance. He will con you! I have seen potatoes from USA, these are not from USA! Liar!" my mum spat at the uncle.
"Oi! You possessed or what? Can stop it or not? People are staring!" I hushed her.
"Stare at me then! I pretty what!"
Yeap, that is definitely menopause. And yes, that ALWAYS happens. Sometimes when I go grocery shopping with her, I feel like I am in a reality program where I am being tested to the limits by the shenanigans that my mum put out in full display to the public.
"And why do you need one kilo of potatoes anyways?" I asked, hauling the plastic bag filled with potatoes inside the shopping trolley.
"Six dollars? Ridiculous!" was my mum's reply.
"You are still bothered about the extra two bucks? Didn't I pay for it? It's only two bucks for god's sake, stop it mum!" I said, annoyed.
"Two bucks can get anything you want from Daiso!"
God help me.