I case the joint. It is crowded, more crowded than I had anticipated. There are people everywhere. I try to pull into the parking lot non-chalantly but I feel that everyone is staring at me. Do I look suspicious? Do they know what I'm about to do? I can't dwell on that. I've planned this for days - it's now or never, do or die. There is nowhere to park. I circle the building again and again before a space finally opens up. I pull in, turn off the car and rest my head against the cold steering wheel. There is no turning back now. I take out the the tattered paper from my back pocket, the list of tasks that must be completed in order to call this mission a success. I pick up my phone and type a quick message to my loved ones in case I don't make it out alive. I fold the paper again and shove it into my coat pocket. I get out and lock the car. I try to act casually and amble into the building. Damn. I forgot my dark glasses. I can't go back. I can't because I know that I won't have the courage to try again. I grab a cart, unfold my list and forge ahead. This is it. This is Thanksgiving Grocery Shopping 2010. The aisles are packed and I spy the apples I need for pie but they are blocked by a hipster boy who's being chatted up by a hipster girl in a leopard print hat. She's talking film school and I know this could last forever. I dart to the left - can't reach. I run around the tomatoes to get to the right side of the apples. Still can't reach. The hipsters see me. Oh god, I know they see me. So, I dash over to the celery and carrots to bide my time. I'm nearly thrown off plan by an elderly woman getting overly familiar with a particularly gorgeous acorn squash but she is no match for my evasive maneuvers. I can't leave without the apples and the hipsters won't budge. I steady myself and shoot...evil stares. They must be wearing evil-stare-proof vests. They don't move. I have to do something because I see the lemons are there too and I need lemons for the turkey. I try to jam my cart through and I bump the girl and she shoots evil stars back. Then, I have to break out the big artillery - I sigh heavily and reach past them for lemons. I abandon the apples - I am no fool! Luck is on my side, however, because I see a separate display of apples that is completely unobstructed. I grab a bag and focus on procuring eggs. I screech around the corner and there, right in front of the bulk eggs, is a man stocking eggs. I raise my fist to the sky in frustration! Clearly, I am a force to be reckoned with - he steps aside and I am able to get a dozen eggs. I lay rubber as I tear towards the dairy case. I see her immediately...the indecisive woman with the disheveled hair. She is monopolizing the heavy cream. I stand near her but I play it cool. I pretend to browse the yogurt because I don't want to spook her - the disheveled ones scare easily. She could scream and blow my cover. Rice yogurt, whole milk yogurt, greek yogurt and then - out of the corner of my eye - I see her shift and I throw open the door and grab a gallon of milk and 3 pints of heavy cream. I thrown them in the cart and proceed in great haste. Ginger, I need ginger. I spy the bulk spices but am horrified to see the hipster girl with the leopard print hat standing in my way. She turns to look and I pick up a can of pumpkin. I keep her in my sights while I stare at the pumpkin. I know I need the pumpkin but I consider it more thoughtfully than necessary so as not to alarm the hipster. She finally moves away and I rush to the ginger. My mission is nearly complete. I turn the final corner and stop to sample some cheese. Just then, I am ambushed by three children. Yes, I know them but they are calling attention to me. Then, they explain that my friend (their caregiver) is in another part of the store. I nod. They ask me to pretend to be their mother so they can get free samples of coconut macaroons. What can I do? I decide to use them as cover and escort them to the coconut macaroon sample man who says, "I'm sure you understand we can only give samples with the consent of an adult." "Of course" I say and then instruct the girls to get their samples. We walk away and linger briefly so the ruse is not discovered and then they peel off and down another aisle. I take a separate arc towards the front of the store. The lines are all full. I will not escape quickly, that is certain. So, I stop for a raspberry scone and then choose a line. As usual, I choose the slowest possible line - clever, yes? It is finally my turn to check out and the employee asks, "Are you a member? Do you have a member number?" Ha! Like I wouldn't have thought of that! "Yes, I am and here's my number." She accepts it. No alarms. No suspicion. I pay and I run for the doors. Two lesbians stand to the left and they and appear to be processing something. There are many meaningful looks, sighs and occasional comforting touches. I worry that they are a trap and I quickly look away, towards the door - towards freedom. I make it to the car and put all the bags in the trunk. I take the cart back to the entry way and then scurry to the car. The engine starts and I'm gone. Mission accomplished.