Panic At The Grocery

christmas tree

I panicked at the disco.

Okay, fine, it was panic at the grocery. I often sing and dance at the grocery, so they’re practically the same.

I have a zit on my chin right now that is so huge that it’s affecting the tides. This zit is so humongous that it has a little zit friend orbiting it, an overflow zit if you will.

At the moment, my enormous chin zit is in it’s most icky phase of healing.

Randy and I needed to run to the store, so I put on my normal uniform of jeans, Keds, and a black t-shirt. I didn’t bother with any makeup. I kind of brushed my hair and rubbed off most of the eyeliner than had taken up residence on the bags under my eyes. We have a heavy bank of fog in the area, so my normal solution of big sunglasses would have been more ridiculous than morning after makeup.

Who cares, though, right? I am who I am. People get zits! Sometimes, we don’t look our best! Sometimes, we look downright scary! Or at least I do.

Still, it was just a quick jaunt to the grocery. We would slide in and out and I was certain that no one would really see me any way. I don’t know why women in their 50s bemoan the fact that they’re becoming invisible. I love the invisible part. It means I’m a ninja.

Anyway, Randy went inside because he was freezing and wanted a coffee. I hung around outside and checked out the table top live Christmas trees. Joey requested a live tree and as this is his last Christmas as a child, I wanted to honor that request. The grocery store trees were shit, though. I could have paid 20 bucks for a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, or just go out again later and find a better one.

I walked into the store a few minutes after Randy.

Here is a list of things I would have rather seen when I walked into the store:

  • A squadron of mimes.
  • A T-rex in a tutu.
  • Both of my ex-husbands. Even the dead one.
  • Every boss I’ve ever had since the beginning of time. Except the one who smelled like boiled cabbage.
  • Beth Blessing, the girl who bullied me in the fifth grade.
  • Sister Christine, the mean ass nun principal who made my life hell at St Augustine elementary.
  • Johnny Depp.

That last one is a gimme.

What I saw were two adorable little girls all dressed up in sequined Santa outfits. They were bright and shiny and had things in their hands holding them up to me. I hadn’t even processed why I was being swarmed by Santa’s cheery little helpers when I noticed the television crew behind them.Panic at the Grocery

Yes. A goddamn news camera had swung in my direction. A reporter with perfect makeup and perfect hair was smiling and walking toward me.

Oh for fuck’s sake. For all the is goddamn holy. Are you fucking kidding me right now?

I considered picking up the smaller of the two girls and hurling her at the woman with the microphone to help facilitate my escape. I am sure they would have loved to have that bit of footage to go along with their heartwarming Toys For Tots story.

Instead, I took the refrigerator magnet from the little girl’s outstretched hand, grabbed a cart, and practically ran into the store. All of them were shouting “Merry Christmas” at me as I cleared the automatic doors. It was horrifying.

Randy was standing at the coffee shop counter.

Me: A fucking news crew? I had to run into a fucking news crew looking like this?

Randy: What are you talking about?

Me: Dude, the fucking news crew in the lobby. You just walked in. You didn’t see the fucking television crew?

Randy: Nah. Some little kid asked if I wanted a magnet and I just told her no and walked in. 


Randy: What? I didn’t notice. 

Me: They’re fucking ambushing everyone as they walk out. How the fuck are we going to get out of here? 

Randy: We’ll just go to the far end of the store and walk the length of the parking lot outside. 

Me: Oh. Yeah. We could do that. Good plan. 

So, I’ve been working on this monumental task of self-acceptance. I still have a long way to go, but I have been consistently moving forward.

You know what can make all your progress fly out the window? I will tell you. Your progress flies out the window when you go out in public looking like you were raised by wolves and have never heard of shampoo and walk right into a staged news story. Because I cared what I looked like. I cared so goddamn much.

We made it out of the store without further incident. We walked to the other end of the store to avoid the “9 on your side” news team. Fuck them and their cameras and perfect hair. I must say, I don’t feel much like they were on my side.

I think I’ll shower and put on a little make up before venturing out again to look for a Christmas tree. At least that is what the zit on my face is telling me to do.

I’m also probably going to have to make a donation to Toys For Tots now.

Speaking of giving….I’ve been making a teensy bit of money writing recently and I decided to donate what I’ve earned in the past month to Mana. I wrote about them a few posts ago. If you are so inclined, please check them out.



Add your comments below. Profanity is encouraged, but not required. ;)
  1. Laurie says:

    You crack me up!

      • dick says:

        chances of you being seen on the news, reminds me of a documentary “Learning to Dance in Ohio”. the documentary is about 3 autistic girls getting ready to go to a formal dance. when the producers were presenting the concept for the movie to the kids and parents involved, one of the kids said” lets remember ,this is a documentary, who’s going to see it anyway, maybe six people”. the project when completed and before going to the Sundance Film Festival , was picked up by HBO and seen by millions. I guess what I am trying to say is, I will be looking for you on the news. remember in the future to smile.

        • Michelle says:

          Oh man…I am PRETTY sure I ran away fast enough. Nearly positive. God, I hope I ran away fast enough. If you see me, then don’t tell me about it and I can continue to pretend it didn’t happen.

  2. Terri Lee says:

    You forgot how Murphy’s Law works! And just who the hell IS this Murphy about whom they speak? He must be a royal asshole! It should also be against the law, child abuse maybe, to place children in situations like that where they not only run the risk of having nasty remarks hurled at them but also running the bigger risk of having to see ME if I should walk into the grocery store first thing in the morning. Haha! Their little lives would be forever scarred. Christmases of future tense ruined.
    I do have a very constructive piece of advice for you though. This has worked for me for YEARS anytime I get the zit from hell (or even a cut on my cuticle that hurts like hell). Make yourself a cup of tea to sit and relax with. Save the tea bag on a plate, allowing it to cool down. Place said tea bag on the affected area (that’s fancy talk for zit from hell), hold it there for about ten minutes and throw the tea bag away. Repeat this at least once a day for a few days and the tannins in the tea leaves bring down the inflammation and will also bring it to a head faster. And no side effects! (Other than Randy probably making some remark about you having a tea bag on your face! Haha! Ignore him!)
    Send some of that cooler weather down here! I still have the damned air conditioner on (not bragging about it, honest—I would love it to cool off down here). Now go write that check to Toys for Tots! 😀

  3. I can visualize the whole thing (I almost feel like a fly on the grocery wall – that would make me a fruit fly I suppose) anyhow…..glad you made your escape, and there should be consolation in the fact that no woman in the universe wants to end up on the news looking like she just popped down to the store. Our Australia’s top model got caught at the store with no makeup on and got hauled over the coals for not presenting a “professional image” (buying potato chips didn’t help either – I actually like her a bit now!)

  4. Lisa K says:

    “Oh for fuck’s sake. For all the is goddamn holy. Are you fucking kidding me right now?”

    How many times has that come out of my mouth when I have tried to be invisible with a blinking zit-beacon.

    “Film at 11.” …that’s what I always think.

    Would have been a good time to grab a ‘Fucking Elf’ and start screaming, “They’re watching us!!! They’re watching us!”

    Bet nobody would’ve noticed the zit.


    (But Randy is still King for protecting you and not doubting the importance of being a non-invisible 50 with a zit. 🙂

  5. Self-acceptance is one thing. Choosing to not be part of a new reality show “The World’s Biggest Zits” or at the very least turned into a big fucking joke on local television is another.
    A friend of mine ran into a minor celebrity at the store one day and recognized her even though said celebrity didn’t have her usual makeup and hairstyle. My friend politely asked if she could get a picture of the two of them together and the celebrity said, “No, please, no, I look terrible.”
    After typing all that out it occurs to me celebrities aren’t exactly the best place to look for examples of self-esteem, but the point is you can be confident and still want to not appear on TV looking like Bozo blowing up a big red balloon.
    Now post a picture of how you looked so we can all reassure you that no one could see your face because that enormous carbuncle is in the way.

  6. Mandi says:

    Those damned chin zits. Why? I hate them. And their little spawns too.

  7. Beth Blessing The Bully!!! LOLOLOLOL. Loved this whole piece beyond what I am capable of articulating.

  8. Haralee says:

    I am sorry to laugh at your pain and anguish! Lesson learned here, swipe a dab of makeup before heading out because now you really know it is true, the one time you just dash, you are caught!

  9. Jenn says:

    pfft. Chin zits? I get them near my upper lip, like a Marilyn Monroe birthmark gone rogue and intent on taking over my face. Worse yet, I’ve been getting them on my neck. My NECK. And those take weeks to go away. What next, boob zits?

    For me, though, it’s the day I forget to look in the mirror entirely and only after I’ve seen three people I know in target do I look in the rear view mirror and realize that I look like I had been dragged behind my car to get there.

  10. Dani says:

    Thank you for the laugh this morning. giggles. While I haven’t run into a news crew, I have run into people I know and didn’t really want to see in various states of not my best. sighs… such is life I guess. The horror indeed. Glad you made it out alive. :0

  11. Hell no. The news ambushes me I fight back.

  12. OMG! I swear that bitch karma has it out for you! What did you run over a whole litter of Christmas kittens in years past? I have to admit though I might have pissed my pants just a little laughing at your story. That sucks. It never fails when we lived by in KY I would invariably run into someone I didn’t want to every time I graced the aisles of Walmart. That is one of the reasons I love SC so much. I don’t have to care what I look like because I can guarantee I will never run into anyone I know because I haven’t met that person yet! You should have thrown the teenaged Christmas elf, she probably deserved it anyway!

  13. Katnap says:

    Holy shit what a daytime nightmare. Now that’s an option from the game “Would You Rather…” ha! Wish I could make it all just a nasty dream – you woke up just as you guys burst outta the store – but I just don’t have that power. You have my sympathies, M. My deepest sympathies. (But thank you for the laughs. Really. It’s hilarious. I’m sorry!)

  14. KK says:

    Oh hell no, I’ve had that happen to me too, why is that there is never a news crew or photographers in the vicinity on the rare occasion that we actually look half decent? Sod’s law!
    Tea Tree Oil, that’s absolutely brilliant for nuking zits as soon as they appear, clears them up really fast.

  15. Me says:

    OMG – you crack me up !!! But thanks to Terri Lee for the tip re the tea bag although I don’t drink tea so I may just have to plonk it in some cool water and then shove it on my face. I never had many zits as a teenager but man they are making up for it in menopause – bloody miserable sodds. Like my life isn’t enough of a challenge trying to navigate menopause without killing / maiming / decapitating anyone, I have to kill people with zits all over my face making them think they have been attached by some horror alien ? And the neck and boob zits too – no area is safe – including my knicker leg elastic line !!!!
    NOBODY should get ambushed going grocery shopping – especially if you are just nicking in for one thing quickly.
    Al said he was putting up lights and the tree this year – we used to do them on 1st Dec – nothing up yet – am thinking that his motivation is waning !!!!!
    Have the best evening xox

  16. Charlene says:

    This was so funny. I have had three similar (but not as funny) incidents. (1) Threw on some clothes and headed out to a chicken farm to pick up some chickens for our backyard chicken house. Wrestled the chickens into the carriers. Put them in the back of the truck. The truck breaks down and have to end up calling a taxi to pick us up and take us home. Covered with chicken feathers. (2) Appeared in a fashion show. Makeup artist said I would look better with some stage makeup on. Trusted her. Saw the photos taken later and my face looked like Bozo the clown. (3) Went to a weight loss convention held at the Hilton Hotel in local town. TV News crew came in and interviewed leaders of convention while the camera scanned around the room and did closeups on my friends and I going through the buffet line. Didn’t realize it until I saw it on the evening news.

  17. Steph says:

    “…even the dead one…” hahahahahhah! I peed a little when I read that. Thanks.

    • Michelle says:

      Hahaha…I am so grateful that I”m at my advanced age and never had any of the pee problems. I mean, I’m sure it’s coming, but so far..I’m good.

  18. Natasha says:

    This is so great! Definitely the funniest thing I have read this week. It could have been written about me!

  19. I really hate when something makes me spit out my coffee (because my Hub makes REALLY good coffee) and the line about the dead husband did it this morning.
    I want to know why it is that the news crew thing (or something equal) never happens on the day you think you look sort of cute. Never. Really sympathize about the zit thing – I have a small colony going on right now and I really don’t get it. I’m blaming hormones.

  20. Leslie says:

    Ha ha ha! This is totally something that would happen to me.

    9 was NOT on your side that day!

  21. Marianne says:

    I think that it’s a load of shit that I have to deal with concealing gray roots AND zits.

  22. 1. I think rubbing off yesterdays eyeliner IS wearing makeup. At least in my world.
    2. I now have another reason to hate the media. Fear mongering AND appearance documenting.
    3. Good work on the fresh tree decision. We always get them and they are so giving. Of their sap. Of their needles. It is heartwarming.
    4. Why didn’t Randy take the magnet for fucks sake? Is he some sort of scrooge?

  23. Randy says:

    Why didn’t I take the magnet? I’m allergic.

  24. Doug in Oakland says:

    I got a zit at the edge of my lower lip, and couldn’t get it to go away until… hell you can still see where it was if you look. It didn’t help that I’ve been shaving by flashlight because we have no electricity in this hell-hole of a building. That’s also why I haven’t been commenting, by the way, since before the fire on the 22nd of November. My neighbor has a generator running and took pity on me today, and that’s why I’m commenting now.
    When I get more time online, I’ll try and go back to the posts I missed, but I just wanted to sort of jump in an say hi while I had the chance…

  25. Liz says:

    “Even the dead one.” Haha. I died! Then I met your ex. And I was still laughing. (He wasn’t; he just wanted to know who the hell I was.)

  26. We’re halves of the same whole. Except the news crew showed up at my doorstep.

  27. My always helpful husband calls those zits my sister. Is your sister coming with us? Will your sister have chicken or pork? As if the zit wasn’t bad enough, my husband and his small pores are going to be the death of me. Maybe I should just pop my sister right at him?

  28. Cassandra says:

    Talk about panic. I think I would have turned around and run right back out the door as soon as I saw them!

  29. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for years, and it’s practically a requirement to get done up to go to the store (unless you’re under 30 and look hot in sweats).
    But I just moved to a not so glitzy town in Northern CA. As I was getting ready to go grocery shopping today, my husband was asking me to hurry up. But I hadn’t put on any eyeshadow yet.
    My husband said, “Have you seen the other people in this town? (i.e. people of Walmart). If you just put on you reading glasses, that’s more than most people here do! ”
    Ha! Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. Sometimes it’s hard not too. But I loved your post. I’ve been there…multiple times!


    • Michelle says:

      I used to get done up to go to the store…but it’s been years..I usually don’t look as bad as when this happened, though..

      and yes..I think we all take ourselves too seriously, sometimes. 🙂