I just returned home from a chunk of time spent working only to find a love letter awaiting me. I am happy to share it with you. I am pleased to offer the second guest post from my loved to the core of his being husband (first one found here x).
I joyfully turn the floor on seeingM over to the delicious voice that is N:
How Much Fun Can You Have In Costco?
Now and then, M & I spontaneously regress into an unaccountably playful state when we go into places where you’re supposed to be grown up – like banks, supermarkets, museums, and public transport. We think it might be the result of being increasingly unable (or unwilling) to take the world quite so seriously anymore. Like someone who’s been told they’ve got two weeks to live; you just let go of a lot of stuff. A whole lifetime of preconceptions, beliefs, and protocols swiftly dissolve. You start seeing beauty and warmth in the smallest of things.
The last time we went weird, it was in Costco. As we walked across the parking lot, I could feel the telltale zing of childlike boldness resonating between us. And sure enough, it presented itself as we crossed the very threshold of the store. As you may know, when you walk into this members-only wholesale warehouse, you are asked to present your membership card to a dedicated greeter stood at the entrance, otherwise you can’t come in. Bingo. M felt this was a golden opportunity to try out an old Jedi mind trick. As we walked inside and approached the greeter lady, M casually showed her a totally unrelated plastic ID card, which was nothing to do with Costco whatsoever. M flashed the card – not too fast and not too slow – and the woman just nodded and waved us through. These aren’t the middle-aged droids you’re looking for, I thought to myself.
M held her hand to her mouth in an attempt to stifle her laughter, as we proceeded deeper into the store. I squeezed her arm as we walked along, trying to keep her quiet until we were out of sight. Once we were around the corner, we let it out and whooped freely. Crime of the century. America’s most wanted let loose and approaching a display of pickle jars. To tell the truth, M had a perfectly legitimate Costco members card elsewhere in her bag, but that’s not the point you understand.
My favorite thing about Costo (along with many thousands of other shoppers) is the cornucopia of free bites that they have at strategically located tables throughout the store. All kinds of delightful little treats like cheese and crackers, barbecued spicy chicken, mashed potato, salami, chips and dips, bruschetta and balsamic vinegar, bacon rolls, and suchlike. Yum. Miniature delectables to put a smile on anyone’s face. Well on this particular visit, I went a bit overboard. I had something from every table in the store, though I must say the ladies staffing the tables seemed more than happy to oblige me. Similar culinary experiments in fancy cafes in Manhattan had cost $75. Here, it was on the house. Admittedly, my gastronomic indulgence did bring to mind a story I’d heard a while back about a guy from Minnesota who’d gone into a grocery store and stuffed his pockets with several pounds of free samples – sausages and beef sticks – and was later detained and charged. I did not want to follow in his footsteps. But neither was I about to feel guilty about gobbling down Costco’s promotional fodder. After all, this corporate monster’s $16 billion in annual sales can comfortably accommodate the nibblings of two mystical miscreants.
M showed much more restraint and lady-like moderation in her sampling of the complimentary fare. She nibbled prudently and conscientiously, even introducing a hitherto unseen organic smoothie taster into the mix, as if to underscore her natural expertise in such matters. But then the vibrations of strangeness returned to us and we both started losing our bearings again. We toured every single aisle in the place and spent far too much time contemplating objects we had no interest in, or need of…. like thermal long johns, catering-sized tubs of mayonnaise, restroom signs, sacks of dog food, and Christian romance novels (with no sex obviously). M also had a revolting encounter with some unidentified gunk that was smeared all over a giant teddy bear. Wet-wipes from our nibble vendors to the rescue. And there was a period where we found ourselves following a family who were starting to become nervous/ bemused at our odd behavior. Though we really do always keep our tomfoolery at pretty imperceptible levels. It’s all just for our own private amusement. We’re not trashing the place or anything. Just being peacefully frivolous.
We did manage to do some normal shopping too. We got some great cheeses, baby tomatoes, bananas, Amber beer, paper, pens, sparkling mineral water, chewy granola bars, wellington boots with flowers on (guess who), raspberries, and other sundry items.
(M interjects to share photo taken later that same day at the beach just for fun…)
However, at the final hurdle, as if to put the closing signature of absurdity on it all, I got confused at the checkout and stood on the wrong side of the counter, alongside the cashier. M tried to gently point this out, as there were other people in line, but I didn’t understand what she was saying. After a while, I began to grasp my error and perceived I was indeed stood right next to a rotund Costco employee with a name badge and apron, who was busy scanning our purchases on the conveyor belt. He kept a wary eye on me until I finally moved away from him and joined the other side.
Groceries acquired, we walked out, pushed the cart through the pouring rain, loaded the car up, and then drove to Dutch Brothers down the road for hot chocolate. And that’s it. End of story. Writing this curious account, thinking back, I cannot help but smile at how the funny little things in life are so important. This is when I know that I am doing something right. 41 years old and deriving enormous pleasure from the sheer unadulterated joy of being with my amazing wife in Costco. Sometimes it’s just as simple and beautiful as that.