Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Gnarly Head Run

So I'm just back from HEB where I was called suddenly on the way home from work to buy wine. Normally I hate shopping but they've raised the whole thing to a new level by "remodeling to Serve You." Normally the aisles are filled with sorority girls and thousands of assorted other student types, as well as Mexican families of twelve all shopping as a social experience. Now the gangways are filled with stunned shoppers, stopped and stopping traffic, gawking at the emptiness of the potato chip aisle; people ducking under yellow caution tape, disbelieving that the spaghetti is, as is proclaimed by the Sharpied poster boards taped to the aisle headers, in fact, temporarily located in aisle 12.

The wine is placed, inexplicably, across from the tuna. Causing me to stop dumbfounded for a moment while unsuccessfully pondering what the correct wine for tuna might be.

There has been an improvement, however, vis a vis the orange shirt situation. Last Sunday when I went I was one of the three people in the store not wearing a UT Rosebowl Championship T-shirt. Including tiny infants. Tonight I only spotted two people sporting burnt orange, unless you count the sorority girl with the "Reprezent" slogan on the back of hers. I don't think it was football related but I could be wrong.

And then my favorite part of the shopping experience is always the inevitable perky navel-showing cell phone-chatting friend of most everyone in front of me in the u-scan line. Things grind to a halt as she, in between "She did NOT!" and "Oh my Gawd!," scans, with one hand, on the third attempt, her first of the allowable ten items. Plus one, because who is going to stop her? No strength of withering stare can penetrate the intense concentration she gives to the person on the other end of the connection. No helpless shrugging and pointing will motivate the employee attendant to interrupt the sacred conversation. And unlike the rush-hour traffic jam, there is no presence of tunes to soothe the urge to kill.

But then there will be the wine. Zinfandel is a grape, once popular but newly fallen out of favor in deference to the Merlot, which is very hard to find in the grocery store setting. Even this one which purports to cater to the more refined and sophisticated shopper. I almost tripped over this Gnarly Head the other day and giddily snag a couple bottles every few weeks, feeling incredibly lucky that it's still right there where it was last time I bought some. I love the spicy berryish roundness of the zinfandel which can stand up to almost anything you throw at it, and it's my favorite thing to quaff when I'm in the mood for a sensuous drunk. I'm mostly sober but now and again there has to be the zinfandel.

Happy happy Wednesday.


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