Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Man-Jewelry, Scientology and Two-Buck-Chuck

I'm pretty sure I'm not as great as I think I am. Though it's up for discussion.

Divorced life is different from married life in a lot of ways. For one, you have no husband. You share your kids with someone you don't particularly care for. You are forced to move from your home. Your lifestyle changes. But most apparent, you shop exclusively at Trader Joe's.

It's a pretty good bet that on any given day I'm at the grocery store. I'm not a planner. I can't buy for the week and make that work for me like so many savvy mommies. I know my limitations. Organization is one of them. Also, diet, exercise, relationships, reading, spelling, learning stuff and follow through. Other than that I'm perfect.

Pre-humiliating-divorce, I would hit the local Gelson's for a this or a that, drop a couple hundred and think nothing of it. As a boost to my self esteem, I would run into Trader Joe's to visit with the commoners. I'd watch them buy Charles Shaw wine thinking to themselves, "It's so good and yet so reasonably priced." I'd think, how quaint. Their lips have never touched the ambrosia that is truly excellent wine and therefore they have no desire for it. I wasn't judging exactly, but I was judging.

Just last night I enjoyed a bottle of Charles Shaw. Alone. And I thought, "This isn't half bad for $2.99." I have joined the commoners. The riff raff. I'm not complaining. There are starving children in Africa who've never heard of Charles Shaw.

My point is this. Divorce changes things.

The other day I took a drive through my old hood. I drove up my street and passed the house I spent eight years of my life in. I felt nothing. No sadness. No regret. Nothing.

I then took that oh-too-familiar drive down the street...and there it was. My old grocery store. Gelson's. With it's over-priced food and over-ripe fruit. I wept. It was as though my car steered itself into the parking lot. Like I was driving Kitt from Knight Rider. Which would be rad. I was home, once again part of the grocery shopping elite. The lucky few who purchased Pirates Booty and pre-washed lettuce across the street from the Scientology Celebrity Center. Was this the day Tom Cruise would take a break from brain washing people to get a pint of Gelson's Famous Dill Tuna Salad? One never knew. Perhaps Giovanni Ribisi would stroll in to grab a Victor Benes' cookie before hooking himself up to the crazy alien meter so popular with Scientologists around the world. But today, there was no John Travolta or that crazy girl "what's her face" who was in all those movies and now is in a band...Juliette somebody. Oh no.

Ryan Gosling was there.

Let it be known that I'm not a Ryan Gosling fan. He wears too much man-jewelry for my taste. I like a man to be a man. I don't like a man who thinks the new trend of "friendship bracelets" is unisex. In real life, Ryan Gosling is as majestic as he is masculine, friendship bracelets and all. Ryan Gosling is the only exception to the man-jewelry rule.

I knew immediately Ryan was my destiny. I had been led back to Gelson's by a force greater than my own. Perhaps the alien Gods of Scientolgy had planned our meeting and so I did what any sane and rational woman would do. I casually followed Ryan Gosling around Gelson's with the intent to go home with a man who looks better in jewelry than I. It seemed as though it was, "in the bag." Grocery humor.

I used all my old tricks. The ones that worked ten years earlier when I was on the market. Now, I was on the market in the market and I was bringing the moves back. All of them. I did that thing with my lip where I casually bite it like I'm thinking, "Do I want the whole grain or the potato bread."

I was desperate for Kosher salt. The problem? It was right where Ryan Gosling was standing. Also, I didn't need Kosher salt at all. "Sorry, " I smiled. Lip bite. Tippy-toe reach. Slight sexy grunt. Hair swing. He asked if he could help. "I'm fine." Lip bite. Coy glance.

It was at this point that I decided to bring back the "fake phone call," a move that served me so well years earlier. I had an animated conversation complete with inside jokes with no one on the other line. This let Ryan Gosling know a few things about his would-be lover. A) I was funny. B) Sexy. C) Extremely important and D) Not crazy because someone called me on the phone and crazy people don't have friends.

At some point in my fake conversation my Ray Ban sunglasses made their way on my face. I was wearing dark sunglasses in the grocery store and I was awesome. I shopped my face off. I bought everything I could think of. I wasn't at Trader Joe's today. Oh no. I was shopping with my people at Gelson's, always one aisle away from Ryan, strategically placing myself where we would "run into" each other. At one point, I accidentally on purpose ran my cart over his foot. He loved me.

I was going to use him. Just long enough for everyone to realize that I'm doing great. I may be a tragic divorcee but I have taken Ryan Gosling as a lover.

"We have to stop running into each other like this." I said with an eyebrow raise and a dramatic hair toss. People were starting to notice our intense chemistry. Our heat. Suckers.

It was at this point Eva Mendes walked up to my boyfriend and the two began to inappropriately make-out in the deli section where I was about to buy the Gelson's Famous Dill Tuna. I thought...oh, he has a type. You know. Cause I look just like Eva Mendes. Like twins. They called his number. 47. I was 48. And this is when Ryan Gosling looked me dead in the eyes and said, "Go ahead, Ma'am."

Reality hit me like a case of Charles Shaw Chardonnay. Ryan wasn't flirting with me. He was being nice to the shlubby old mom with tampons and diapers at the top of the cart who was following him around the market like a deranged fan. The crazy woman who was wearing dark sunglasses and too-tight jeans. The woman sporting a hint of a moustache. I didn't belong at Gelson's anymore. I'm a Trader Joe's kinda person. I like to shop where hippies have no idea, nor do they care how old I am. Where I can buy vacuum-packed lentils and beets, frozen appetizers and Trader Joe's-brand organic milk. Where I can delight in two-dollar wine, confident no one is judging.

The following Monday, Leo and I were heading down an elevator. A woman joined us on the second floor. We acknowledged each other with a smile. Then, she asked me the following question. "Is he your grandson?"

The next day, my sister Vanessa and I were parking at the mall when the parking guy asked me if my 29-year-old sister was my daughter. Just out of the blue. "Is she your daughter?" Had my car actually been Kitt from Knight Rider and I could have told Kitt to run the man over, but alas, my car is not Kitt. It's just a plain old regular car.

I'm pretty sure I'm not as great as I think I am. No...I am. I'm pretty great.