Personal Shopping

Psychosis are a large part of growing up. We all have them, end up with them, or see them developing. My psychosis morphed from outrageous inflictions that I endured to something that I hold dear. Almost like the laws–or jaws– of life.

Take for instance, fruit salad. Chopped fruit in a bowl is not a traditional psychotic trigger, but for me it marked the moment when I knew I would have to marry my then boyfriend. After I shared with him my level of crazy I would have to keep him. I couldn’t trust him out in the world– knowing my most intimate secrets.

When i was growing up, my (somewhat) neurotic mother always used Briana’s poppy seed dressing on her fruit salad. There was no fruit salad made with Martingnetti’s or Marie Callander’s versions of the dressing, only Briana’s. Briana’s is a Texas-based company that only recently started popping up all over the US– mostly because people started to realize just how much better Briana’s dressings taste (and they don’t just make poppy seed, they make everything).

After I left home to travel the world exploring my soul, my eating habits became less than admirable. Most nights I would curl up with a jar of Prego and a spoon, stopping only wen the acid tomato mixture had effectively burned a whole in my stomach. The lasting effects of that diet are chilling.

When I finally settled in Boston to finish college, my Southern roots began to grab hold. Obviously I was never going to find a decent husband if all I had to offer him was a jar of Prego and some animal crackers. I would have to learn to cook. At the very least, I would have to learn to prepare. Fruit salad was a superb jumping-off point.

For a while I only ate fruit salad. I would look for Briana’s at every grocery store, and when I found it, I would eat fruit salad for every meal, until the dressing was gone. I would then fall into a pit of despair.

Grocery shopping is secretly personal, and I had managed to keep my then-boyfriend-now-husband from ever accompanying me. The way that someone makes their way through the grocery store speaks volumes. It’s not a matter of what they choose (everyone gets tricked by marketing or influenced by their budget), but how they choose it. I may or may not need to go down every aisle. Every time.

When I finally took him with me, it was clear that marriage or murder were my only clean options. How could I have known that he thought Oreos and “Tuxedo Cremes” tasted the exact same? Or that I would have to explain why you ONLY buy Spice Island spices?

Absently, I said that I wanted to find poppy seed dressing.

Standing in the fruit aisle, he pulled a jar off of the refrigeration shelf and put it in the cart.

“What’s that?” I asked him. Calm, trying not to panic.

“Poppy seed dressing– didnt you just say you wanted some?” he replied with the naivety of a baby deer.

I stared at the jar nestling itself against my produce, wondering the best approach for defusing the situation. It wasn’t a because my mother bought it, it was because poppy seed dressing was SUPPOSED to taste like Briana’s. It was a taste thing. It actually tasted better. It tasted like it had been made for my by someone who cared about me.

Instead of a rational explanation, I produced word vomit.
“That one is poison. It is mass produced and it tastes like mayo with pebbles in it.”

Oh no.

It was immediately clear that I had made a mistake. He looked at me for a long second and then asked if I had a preference on all condiments.

“Of course.”

I  knew then that everyday was going to be an uphill battle. The boy who was raised on “President’s Choice” soda vs. the girl winced when she thought of generic oreos.

But I couldn’t just kill him. . .

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