creature of habit

More than a few years ago, when I was growing up in my parents' house, something very traumatic happened to me.  It was bad enough that I can’t say exactly when or why it happened.  It was something bad enough that I partially blocked it out of my memory, but I still have flashbacks.  Even today, as an adult, I still have flashbacks. It happened in the kitchen, and I don’t think I have ever completely recovered.  Some event, so horrific, that I hesitate to even mention it on this website; but I will, and may the truth set me free.

In the cupboards by the sink, we had bowls behind one door and glasses behind a different door.  It seems simple enough, and that’s always the way it was.  Those cupboards were a rock in an otherwise turbulent upbringing*.  Until one day, I opened on door and found glasses where the bowls should have been, and bowls now in place of the recently displaced glasses.

It was a moment that still haunts me to this day**.

Maybe this anecdote seems a little random.  I’m generally not one to dwell on the past, especially something as mentally scarring as this.  Recent events in our neighborhood have brought all these painful memories rushing to the surface once more.

I like to know how things work and where things are.  And once I know this, I don’t like them to change.  One of the biggest adjustments we made when we moved to our current house was learning the layout of a new grocery store.  The chain was the same as I had been going to since college, but the store was nothing like the one closest to our old apartment.

It took some getting used to, but considering that we don’t plan out what we are going to eat on any given day more than about 24 hours ahead of time, we spend a decent amount of time there.  So I know that the cheese isn’t in the dairy section; it’s by the deli meat.  And the pancake mix is in the cereal aisle, dried fruit is next to the nutrition bars, and the doughnuts and Cool-Whip are in opposite back corners of the store.  Sliced water chestnuts are in the Asian food section and they put the day old loaves of bread next to the frozen desserts.

Just in case you wanted to know.

Recently, the store has been going under some cosmetic changes: new wallpaper, updated lighting, and redone floor tiles.  Considering the store is only 5 years old at most, it seems a little unneeded, but Rhiannon and I have commented that the leading competitor’s store does seem nicer.

Well, the remodel has become more than cosmetic.  This past week, the store, which is normally open all night, has been closing down.  They are moving food with wild abandon.  The quirky location of the cream cheese?  Now it’s with the rest of the dairy.  I was looking for a cake mix and found myself trying to decide between pop and fruit juice.  One of the things that Rhiannon and I really enjoyed about going to the grocery store was exchanging knowing looks about the people aimlessly wandering the store, looking from list to directory to aisle, trying to locate some tiny item, while we effortlessly breezed in and out.

Now, I’m back in the same boat as everyone else.  I go in and expect to get the supplies to make a plate of nachos.  Instead, I find that I am leaving with more a fruit cocktail mixture.

It’s times like these that call for drastic measures.  Do you think they would notice if I slowly put the store back the way it was, one box of Mac and Cheese at a time?

* - In the interest of full disclosure, my upbringing was pretty much as opposite of turbulent as you can get, but saying I had a great childhood doesn’t lend itself well to the dramatic buildup of the story.

** - I’m actually kind of serious about this one.  In our kitchen, the glasses, bowls, and sink are in a similar layout to the house I grew up in, and every once in a while, I still pause and think if the dishware is where I actually think it is.  I know, how do I bring myself to get out of bed in the morning?