After parking at the local grocery store, I hopped out of my car. The number of cars in the parking lot suggested that this trip would be anything but the quick stop I’d hoped for. I wasn’t after much. I just needed my contribution to dinner tonight.
Long before I reached the door of the market, people were staring at me, but I kept my head held high and ignored the gawkers. After adjusting the handle of my own handbasket on my arm and grabbed the metal loops on the store’s red basket and headed in.
The produce section was closest, so I went straight to fruit stands. Apples? No, the last ones I’d picked up were good for cooking but not for snacking. Oranges? I wasn’t sure about the timing of oranges, so I passed those up, too. The grapes looked dingy and many were molded. No good at all. Berries! They were in season for summer. I sorted through a few bigger boxes, and made my selections before I headed to the bakery.
I had expected crowds to be a problem. There were, after all, a large number of people doing their Friday night shopping for this weekend’s holiday, but getting through the crowds was easy. I found that people created a wide space for me, and many wasted no opportunity to stare and talk behind their hands, as if I wouldn’t know the subject of their conversation.
Undaunted, I continued to the bakery and went to the area where specialty breads were sold. I passed up all the cut loaves and selected a nice round one with oats dusting the crust and a cross slit into the top. Perfect. Absolutely perfect as if made for me and my purpose.
Behind the counter, the baker stood slack-jawed. I simply smiled and turned away. Honestly, I’d expected such behavior from the crowds, but the staff should be better behaved.
At the cheese counter, I picked up a wedge of brie and managed another smile for the lady behind the counter whose eyes were about to pop out of her head. People were acting like I’d chosen to emulate the famous Lady Godiva, but no, I checked my buttons smoothed out my skirt, and adjusted my hat and gloves. No problems there.
On my way to the checkout, I passed a stand of olives. They would make a nice addition to dinner. I paused, but then changed my mind. I’d offered to bring a loaf of bread, a wedge of cheese and some fruit. Antoine and Yvette usually brought a nice selection of olives.
With all my purchases covered, I set a straight course for the checkout and the register for quick sales. After unloading my purchases onto the conveyer, I set the store’s basket in the stand for it and stepped forward.
“My lady, hast thine a fair evening ahead forsooth?” the checker asked.
You’re grammar’s off, but nice try. I smiled kindly. “Indeed, and in truth the entire weekend is well-planned.”
I exchanged money for goods and headed out with an incongruous plastic bag hanging from my arm. People were still staring at me as I got into my car and drove away. I looked down at my dress and smiled. Had they never seen a late 17th Century Spanish lady before? Probably not, but within the hour, I’d arrive at the Society for Creative Anachronism event, and be surrounded by others who were not so different from myself, at least in their choice of attire.