I approach the Smart n Final, messenger bag on my hip, the automatic door sliding open with a swoosh that I take a moment to admire. I walk in purposefully, walking briskly past the cookery and condiment aisles, and take a sharp right through the cereal aisle, narrowly avoiding a man on a motorized scooter. I stop in front of the snacks aisle, more accurately referred to as the junk food aisle.
"Hmm..." I think. "What to get...?" I don't linger, and start rifling through the chips. I am a girl on a mission. Operation: Feed Hungry Teenagers. The phrase is enough to make any parent wince and clutch their wallets for dear life, but I've got a stomach of steel, the brains of a mother and eighteen bucks in my pocket. I emerge victorious with a bag of salt and vinegar chips, and make my way down to the candy shelves. I scan the price tags, grimacing inwardly at the overpriced sweets, but I put on a brave face and reach for a bag of Reeses Pieces that isn't too offensive.
I pay for my purchases, a small flush of pleasure going through me as I hand over my hard-earned babysitting money, the sheer maturity of it bringing me no small joy. I tote the foodstuffs down the road, holding my breath as I pass the middle school and hoping that they don't notice what I'm carrying. I breathe a sigh of relief as I make it past unharmed, and chuckle to myself as I imagine what a confrontation that would have been. "I mean," I think, "one middle schooler, I could have taken, two middle schoolers, probably, but four... that would have been slaughter!"
People often ask me why I bring food to school so often, and I just shrug and say, "I like to feed people. Want a cookie?" In reality, I think it's a genetic; my mom likes to feed people, as does my grandmother; it's an Italian thing. So is talking with our hands; as my friend said, "If an Italian is missing an arm, he has a speech impediment."
And a-no, we don't all-a talk-a like a-this.
... but I wish we did.