Ghetto Fabulous

Lovey Loverpants does most of the grocery shopping for the household, largely because he has sonic fruit-selecting abilities that I do not possess. If I am really honest about why I do not do most of the grocery shopping for the household, though, it is because I am not a proficient ghetto shopper; I am not conditioned for shopping in the ghetto. Now, I take care in using the word ghetto. And let me explain the implications of "ghetto" when I use it.

Ghetto, originally, from what I understand, just referred to a particular neighborhood where a particular ethnic or religious group settled. Greek Orthodox ghetto over yonder, Jewish ghetto just around the bend.

So when did ghetto become a derogatory? I knoweth not, historians, but I suspect it was somewhere around the time when the middle class began to dissolve in this country, when the chasm between upper and lower class widened, and the bridge between Brand Name Orange Juices and Generic Orange-Aid stretched much further than it had before. And suddenly, the kind of juice you buy manifests just exactly on which side of the tracks you live.

So to say that I shop in the ghetto is to say that I patronize businesses in a lower-income neighborhood. Sure.

But ghetto, in my mind, also refers to an attitude. Being "ghetto" is to be gritty, is to be not-to-proud, is to be unafraid to be loud. When I go grocery shopping in the ghetto, the experience is very sensual. Children scream and bash into my cart. At 10p.m. People smell odorous. People audibly express distaste for nasty looking foods.

And I? Am a little fawn in the forest who lost her mother.

I am not a snob. I am just ill-prepared to contend with the loud, the smelly, the all-up-in-my-grille when I am just trying to get some pita and hummus and soy milk and organic bananas for the week, for the love of my blessed little rations! I am so white for saying this, I know, but I just cannot be bothered, is all, and therefore I cannot appreciate the colorful, cacophonous experience of ghetto grocery shopping because I am five months pregnant and doggy-dog tired and I just want to get outta theya.

And for thinking those thoughts, I have been punished.

Last Saturday night, I headed to ghetto plaza. And, as five months pregnant had me, I decided I would get my exercise by parking in the most remote pocket of the parking lot. It was so remote, there were aboriginal tribes living there, who had never seen themselves in a mirror before, and had never heard of Netflix. I flitted from one store to the next, reserving my grocery shopping for last since I'd be hauling two big cartons of ice cream home.

Because the ghetto plaza is smart, ghetto plaza knows that its patrons will steal shopping carts. Therefore, the infrastructure of the ghetto shopping plaza's parking lot has cart-guards. That is, if you've stupidly parked in a remote corner of the parking lot, far far far from the grocery store whose cart you are using to transport your groceries, you will encounter a problem. Your cart will stop, abruptly, just as it passes over the invisible fence barring the cart from moving any further.

I glimpse my car, still parked in the remote part of the parking lot, forlorn and far far far away. Because I am in the ghetto, I do not have the option of leaving my cart where it is and to go run and fetch my car and bring it to the cart. Someone will pilfer my ice cream. And the rest of this bounty of groceries.

So I push. And then I pull. I am dragging a cart with no mobile wheels half-way across New England. And I am five months pregnant. And it is 10 p.m. at night in the ghetto shopping plaza. And people are pulling over to get a look at this crazy cracker who thinks she can outsmart the system.

Who's ghetto now?