Finding Out Who You Are


Part I — The Grocery Store

I am not a spy; I am a journalist, which is a glorified spy. I gather information on my parents, my teachers, my classmates and people at the grocery store. You can tell a lot about a person by what they have in their shopping cart. Here are some examples:

White bread: I own a shag carpet

Brussels sprouts: I don’t like my kids

Yogurt: I wake up early to go running

Fancy cheese: I have dinner parties

Frozen meals: I eat standing up at the counter

I like to stand on the front of the shopping cart like I am the captain of a ship. My dad pushes the cart and sometimes he pushes it really fast and pretends that he is going to run into the shelf. I always think he’s actually going to do it. But he never does. I try to sneak cookies or sugary cereals into the cart but he notices and tells me to put it back. Sometimes he notices and doesn’t say anything. Most of the time my mom lets me get away with it. That’s why I like shopping with her, but she doesn’t pretend to push me into the shelves.

Part II — Anne

I met Anne the summer before third grade. It was an arranged meeting, like a blind date, and we were both as nervous as people who are about to go on a blind date. She dressed up for the occasion in tiger-striped leggings and cool sunglasses. I did not. We met in the driveway between my aunt’s house and Anne’s friends’ house. We hit it off. I was starting third grade in a new school and now I had a new friend. I had somebody to sit with during lunch. I was happy. Anne and I spent recess arranging wedding ceremonies. We wed Ross and Bridget. Ross now goes to college in Ohio and Bridget has two kids.

In homeroom in high school Anne talked about putting acid on rice cakes and I told her my grandpa died. She hugged me and said she was sorry for abandoning me all summer. I told her it was ok even though it wasn’t. We were graduating and I was going to journalism school and everyone else was staying at home. Even though I was leaving I felt like I was the one being left behind.

Part III — Graduation

Our graduation was in the high school gym and it was really hot. So hot that I went naked underneath my red robe. During the ceremony no one was allowed to clap or cheer when we received our diplomas. This was supposed to make the process go faster but really I think they were just exerting their last bit of power over us before we were gone and out of their control forever. I was happy to get out of there. I had the summer.

After the graduation ceremony my friends and I went to a gas station to pick up some food and beer with Anne’s fake ID. I bought chips, salsa and a six-pack of Blue Moon. I don’t know what kind of person this makes me.

Now I push my own grocery cart and sometimes I get the urge to run really fast and crash into the shelves; but I haven’t yet.

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