But sometimes, I really sort of wish they would refrain from questioning my purchases and expecting me to explain them.
Yes, I know ramen noodles are high in sodium. Thank you, I’m well aware there’s a hurricane out in the Gulf, and that these frozen chicken nuggets will be no good if the power goes out. But I’m going to buy them for my son anyway, because he loves them, and who knows? Maybe, just maybe, we won’t have a power outage. As it turned out, we didn’t, because the hurricane shifted elsewhere. But the clerk in that scenario actually chastised us for not stocking up on canned goods instead, and Mr. Lucky grumbled about her busybodying all the way home.
Today it was about cheese, specifically the kind pictured below:
From Sargento, it’s a six ounce resealable bag of mild and white cheddar cheese pieces shaped like Mickey Mouse. Unlike most cheese products, the pieces within are not individually wrapped; you just unzip the bag and devour.
They are perfect for Baby Bear, who loves cheese in any form. He’ll go through all 64 slices of sandwich cheese (which means lots of little wrappers everywhere) and even break into bags of shredded cheese bought for nights we do Mexican.
I’ve been known to buy bags of Mickey Mouse cheese by the truckload. In all fairness, most cashiers simply declare the cheese “cute” and leave it at that, for which I’m grateful.
But not today’s cashier. “Who’s the cheese freak?” she wanted to know.
“My son,” I replied. “He loves cheese, and it’s good for him.”
She just had to ask how old he was, and I told her. It was clear from her stupefied reaction that she thought it very strange I was buying Mickey Mouse cheese for a thirteen year old, when there are so many other cheese products out there packaged in a more sophisticated manner. She mentioned her own teenager who, just like our Bear, ate all kinds of cheese—slices, cubes, blocks—but never in Mickey Mouse form.
To her credit, she stopped short of asserting her teenager wouldn’t be caught dead with a bag of this stuff, but guilt-receptive parental unit that I am, the vibe was there and duly picked up: I was babying my son, embarrassing him, and he’d probably never get a date or hold down a decent job, and would grow up to become some crazed sniper in a bell tower, all because I made him eat cheese shaped like Mickey Mouse when he would’ve preferred it shaped like air guitars.*
As there was a long line behind us, I thought the better of getting into an equally long explanation of my son’s autism and other issues; how because of that alone, and not the shape of his cheese, it was not outside the realm of possibility that he’d still be living with us at age forty anyway; and why Mickey Mouse cheese really is easier for him than that string stuff that has to be peeled open, and is designed for people with super fine motor skills, none of whom live in my house.
You might say I was feeling a little cheesed off.
*He does, however, prefer vegetables shaped like air guitars.