I went to Safeway because they had a sale on peanut butter. I saw online that were selling it for 15.5 cents an ounce. What was I supposed to do? Not go? Are you insane?
I mean, even getting three 24 oz jars of Teddie Peanut Butter from the east coast and shipping it with Amazon Prime would have been over 20 cents an ounce. To be fair, it was all better than buying from the corner market where they sell it for 31 cents per ounce. Sharks.
Still, I had to go. I just had to.
When I got to Safeway, I thought I was okay. I was just going to get two jars of peanut butter and face wash. I didn’t think the trip was going to take a wild left turn of hunger-based decision making and leave me in a haze.
The first clue that something was wrong was when I found myself getting six jars of peanut butter instead of two. I loaded them up in my arms, which were operating independently of my brain. Looking back, I can identify this as the moment where I’d stopped thinking. Clutching peanut butter jars, I rushed to get a basket from the front of the store and briefly contemplated just running away into the Castro and hiding under an overpass and feasting on peanut butter, digging in with my hands and licking it off my fingers. This was another sign I was not okay.
With the six jars in the bottom of my basket, I went to look for the face wash but found myself transfixed by the ramen noodle section, which looked so intriguing and friendly. Each pack of noodles was winking at me. What a novel food! How convenient! I got four packs. I felt my stomach rumble as a wild grin came to my face. Nothing could stop me now.
Italian sausage was in sight. I’d thought about it weeks ago. Wouldn’t hurt to get a pack would it? Then, cheese! Oh dear God I needed cheese. I needed so much cheese. I got three packs, and it was all so cheap. Just $2.99 each. What a steal. I thought about getting one of every flavor, but settled for cheddar and pepper jack and even a pack of the gross American cheese product because no part of my body was thinking right now. It was gut instinct. It was reaction.
I was breathing heavily and maybe even laughing out loud to myself (not that that would be unusual in the Safeway on Church and Market) when I remembered tuna. Oh tuna. Tuna. TUNA TUNA TUNA TUNA. It was tuna time. I found it and threw myself down like a worshipper at the altar and found that (praise God) it was on sale. I got eight cans.
Jelly. Oh I needed jelly to make PB&J sammies which I would eat hot and cold, in the evening and in the morning. Showing restraint, I only got two jars and yes, they were on sale. They were so on sale.
My hands shaking, I self-checked out, cackling as I saw how much money I’d saved. So many dollars. Tens of dollars! It was all worth it. Still, I hungered. So much food so close to me, and I could eat none of it.
I contemplated the hard boiled egg in my pocket.
I contemplated a finger of peanut butter.
But I did not open anything, not even the egg.
I carried my bag to the N Judah carefully, carefully. A broken sack would put a damper on this high. I waited for the train with numbness in my belly.
Finally, the train came to take me home, and this is God’s honest truth and this is the forest’s honest truth if you don’t believe in God: I don’t remember what I ate when I got home. All I know is this, that when I came to on the floor of my room, I was no longer hungry .