Grocery Shopping Under the Influence of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

When I was a young adult (and still am in the spirited sense) a lot of things were really important.  I mean really, really important… like guys, my weight, clothes and meaningful work…(emphasis on meaningful).

Things have changed.  Very few things are really, really important.  Other things are really important.  A few things fall into the important category.  Most things fall into the …”Oh, well…another day, another challenge” category.  Upon consideration, the “really, really important” category just doesn’t exist at the moment, but I’m open-minded about stuff….who knows?

While grocery shopping this morning, I’ve come up with something that falls in between the cracks of the important category, and the” another day another challenge” category.  I’m not really sure how to catalog this problem…My favorite grocery store –Ultra Foods – is closing, and the choices left in my community will be the high-end designer grocery stores – like Mariano’s, Pete’s, and the Jewel.  There goes the budget.  Ultra Foods was perfect for my needs.  The prices were competitive; the selection was decent; and it was within three miles of home.  I suppose a new category is needed…”the irritating fly in the ointment of life” category.  Yes, I do believe the closing of Ultra Foods is truly an irritating fly in the ointment of my life.  Oh, well.t 

So what to do.  Whenever I face some goofy challenge like this, my epileptic brain goes into hyper drive.  Yes, I have temporal lobe epilepsy.  As a sidebar, TLE’s seizures present as mood swings, self-talking, smelling things that aren’t there, and brain hyper-drive.  Rarely, if ever, do I get twitchy and lose consciousness. A little anticonvulsant daily helps immeasurably.  So if you see me in a grocery store, talking to myself…I’m not crazy…I’m having a seizure…No big deal.  Getting back to the story and my hyper-active brain.  While shopping this morning, I started planning…really planning about what future grocery shopping is going to look like…because I can tell you right now…I’m not paying designer prices for produce.   My brain was a whirling dervish, and I went into self-talking mode…People started avoiding me.  Oh, well…that happens a lot.  Despite the weird looks from fellow-shoppers, I came up with a plan.  Fortunately, I live in shopping paradise.  I don’t have to go very far to find just about anything I could possibly want to drag home.  Sadly, my grocery budget can’t support high-end produce…so here’s the plan – so far. Aldi’s will be the go-to store for detergents, paper towels, soaps, etc.  The Dollar store has always been a good place for saran wrap, and aluminum foil.  (Fortunately Aldi’s and the Dollar Store are across the street from each other – so no big deal there.) Produce and meats -that’s the challenge. Fortunately we have a really truly great

The carnicería/frutería on North Avenue that serves our Latino community – Villa Park Fruit Market.  If you have never shopped at a carnicería/frutería, you really need to go in one and take a look.  Fresh produce – and I don’t mean just the generic-garden variety you can get at the Jewel – the kind of produce that supports Latino cuisine….yumm!  The meat department is the same story.  Fresh beyond belief.

But, Marianne (you say), Villa Park Fruit Market is a good five miles from your current domicile, and Jewel is just down the street.  True.  Very True.  But the Jewel can’t hold a candle to the variety and freshness of foods at the Fruit Market.  But, Marianne, (you continue),  what about Pete’s and/or Mariano’s.  Well, I can’t get my shopping cart down the aisle at Pete’s.  There is entirely too much high-priced stuff all over the place, and I don’t need Mariano’s piano concert to enhance my shopping experience.  I need to fill the shopping cart with what’s on my list, and get the hell out of there.  (I am a very focused shopper.  I may be talking to myself while shopping…but that is when I am really, really focused.)   Another great thing about the Fruit Market is it’s proximity to PetPlus (a great lower-cost alternative to Petsmart) and Hobo’s – good competition for the big-box hardware stores.  I like it.  I can get the grocery, pet and hardware shopping done in one convenient location!  So what if it’s five miles.   

I think I’ve reduced this “fly in the ointment of my life” to problem solved.  And I have TLE to thank for it. 

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