Olives 3So I am standing in the check-out line of the grocery store, Publix.  If I haven’t said it before, I will now….I loathe this store.  Every time I go to this store, which is about once a week, I try to get into my “happy place” hoping to find something good about it.   Invariably I walk out in a bad mood.  Today was no exception.  I know I have to get over this if for nothing else because Publix is essentially the only game in town, so to speak.  There is Fresh Market which has a much better ambiance and, more importantly, a better selection of just about everything…but it is not always convenient to get to.

I watch the cashier scan my grocery items with the swiftness of a turtle crossing the road in triple digit temperatures.  I’m getting hot with impatience.  My husband will tell you that I have been like a cat on a hot tin roof all day long.  I’d say I’m more like a tiger…pacing back and forth in a tight cage, waiting to ponce on anything or anybody.  I blame it on the full moon.  But I digress.

As the cashier scans my items she stops at the jar of dry, oil cured olives, I had selected for a puttanesca recipe.  I had just purchased a new Italian cookbook by Rocco DiSpirito and my cart was filled with an assortment of veggies, some pasta, as well as fish for our evening meal. The olives would be for a recipe later in the week.   The cashier holds up the jar of oil cured olives, tilting it this way and that, inspecting it as if it was illegal contraband.  “You may want to get another jar,” she politely drawls, “this one is defective.”  Clearly, I’m confused.  “Um, what is wrong with the jar,” I ask trying to contain my impatience over the hold up.  “There is no liquid in the jar; it’s not supposed to be that way,” she says as if I were the moronic one.  “Ah,” say I, stifling a laugh.  “These are dry, oil cured olives.  They aren’t supposed to be in brine liquid.”   The cashier is skeptical, but she continues to process my items, one item at a time; it’s so painstakingly slow I feel that I might blow a gasket at any moment.    My husband is humming right along as he places items on the belt for scanning, obviously ignoring my dark mood.  I am muttering under my breath words that are not very kind….I know….I’m totally not feeling ANY degree of bliss and for a nano-second I am truly ashamed at myself…

…but really….how can one not know what a jar of dry, oil cured olives should look like?

Now the bagger begins filling my grocery bags.  She moves like cold honey dripping from a spoon.  I’m getting more and more impatient. Is it my imagination or is Hubby whistling even louder now?  The bagger ALSO stops in her tracks when she gets to the jar of olives.  She turns it over and over.  “What is this?” she asks.  “Oh…I think you just have a bad jar.  I can get you another one,” she says with a helpful smile.   It is all I can do–in my present mood–to not pounce.  “That is a jar of dry, oil cured olives, “ I say once again with an obvious edge to my voice.  “If the jar was defective you’d know by the top.  It is sealed air-tight.  The jar is not supposed to have liquid in it.”  I shoot hubby a look to say Okay….I just remembered that I did not have a proper breakfast, nor lunch, so cut me some slack….

Really….seriously….In all the years I have been grocery shopping…even in a tiny, spit-through kind-of-a-town in eastern Oregon, I’ve never had to explain a jar of dry, oil cured olives.  I am living in middle earth indeed.