About that accidental, grocery store rage face…

To the woman I saw in Walmart yesterday,

I saw your daughter plough into you from behind with the grocery cart while you were trying to find a suitable avocado. I know what that feels like. My ankles still suffer from PTSD after so many instances of the very same thing. I watched you wince in pain before the anguish on your face was swiftly replaced by a familiar expression of unbridled rage.

You said something then, but I was too far away to hear it. I imagine it was your daughter’s name, followed by some mostly unintelligible snarling.

I was the guy on the other side of the produce department holding a bundle of asparagus with a stupid smile on my face. Sorry if I enjoyed that scene a little too much but as they say; misery loves company.

Accidental, grocery store rage face, or AGSRF for short is a real thing. I’ve AGSRF’d before, I’ve AGSRF’d hard. Losing your shit on your kids in public is a multi-layered kind of embarrassment but sometimes it is simply unavoidable. And when it happens, it is almost always in the grocery store.

Slowly ambling through too small aisles like hungry cattle on a foodstuff treasure hunt is bad enough. Anchor on an enthusiastically impatient kid or three and you have yourself a recipe for mental breakdown.

I like to play a game when I’m at the grocery store where I watch the faces of other parents and try to gauge how close they are to AGSRFing. I listen for the sound of naughty children and if the parents already look upset then I know they are handling their business. It’s the parents with smiles on their faces that are in trouble. They are running into people they know. The last thing they want is for Judy from accounting to see them cast in any negative light like perhaps the light of publicly disciplining their kids. So they try to smile through the ordeal but the truth is that they are just hungry, over-worked and under-appreciated. All they really want is to get through taco Tuesday with their last shred of dignity still intact, put the kids to bed and watch the next episode of Dexter on Netflix. That’s when a grocery cart slams into them from behind.

So while the sadist in me may laugh at the plight of these other parents and their accidental grocery store rage faces; I don’t judge them. I stand in solidarity with them. I am them. Life is tough. If you can’t laugh at it well, what’s the point?