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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Grocery Aisle Karma (GAK)

I was GAK'd.

Ever been GAK'd?

Are you confused?

Let me help.

GAK, Grocery Aisle Karma, is a noun. As I learned in my Latin class today, nouns are parts of speech. In addition to nouns there are pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. A pronoun takes the place of a noun, yes, but it is also a more general term: "we" can mean anyone, while "Backpacking Dad" can pretty much only mean me. Unless there's another Backpacking Dad out there.

I would fight that dude.

Verbs are words. Fine, they are some kind of action word. But the word "verb" comes from the Latin word "verbum" which, as Latin words go, is probably the most self-reflective, because it just means "word."

Prepositions, I discovered, are awesome. Despite my perverse desire to end every sentence with a preposition, I finally know why prepositions are inappropriate for ending sentences with. Because prepositions don't really do anything, apart from beginning prepositional phrases; beginning prepositional phrases. So if a preposition is at the end of a sentence it isn't beginning a damned thing.

Adjectives are awesome. Adverbs are even more awesome. And conjunctions are great unifiers. But, hell, interjections are probably my favourite parts of speech.

So. Now that you know everything I know about English and Latin grammar...

GAK. A noun meaning "the particular kind of karma that sneaks up on someone, like me, who is insufferably superior while grocery shopping."

Erin has been jonesing to ride in one of the fancy shopping carts at the Safeway: the carts with the little car attached to the front. They are rare, and I don't know what fantastic confluence of events occurred last week, but for whatever reason there was one in the cart return area right next to my parking space when we pulled in, so I immediately claimed it and buckled Erin inside.

She squealed and started steering her little car and beeping her horn and then I died from the cuteness of it all. (That's what us mommy-bloggers are supposed to say about stuff like that, right? That we died from the cuteness of it all? I don't know how a dad-blogger would describe it. Maybe "My kid did something and then I farted and threw a bunch of crap in the cart so I could get home to watch the football game while my wife made me some nachos.")

Everyone here knows I'm joking, right? Right? And that it's all awesomely self-referential and twisted and you can't really figure out what's going on with it, right? Hmm. Well, now do you know?

Back to the story (because this blog, more than anything else, is about stories, no matter how often I go off and tell you something about grammar you didn't want to know, or throw myself at children's show hosts (who, seriously, crush on me in a major way. I mean, she's undoubtedly reading this right now and showing her mom while she whispers "Where has he been my whole life?" and I just have to keep reminding her that I'm married and in love with my wife and also that FADKOG claimed me first. That's just an historical fact. So, although I'm totally flattered, and I really am, it's just never going to happen. I'm sorry. No, no. Shhh. Don't say anything else. It's better this way.), I think I tell stories more often than anything else) at hand: I was pushing Erin's huge RV/Shopping Cart down the canned vegetables aisle and a familiar face approached me.

"Hi Shawn."

Beat. Beat. Beat. Crap. Who is this? She looks way familiar. I think Emily knows her. Why can't I place her?

"Hi! How are you?"

Still no idea. No, wait. Imagine she has a toddler with her: Got it!!

See, she works with Emily and had a baby shortly after Erin was born and we knew each other through our neat little new parents center in town. But I could hardly ever remember seeing her without a kid. And as that thought struck me, another, more evil thought struck me.

"No kid today?" I asked, and then, mentally: No kid today, at the grocery store? Look at me, I'm a breaking-down-the-stereotypes DAD and I have MY kid with me at the grocery store. I'm not afraid to shop with her. Pffft. Amateur.

"No, not today," she said as she wandered past me, her child-free arms swinging as she walked.

I turned my head to watch her walk away, and like a big cosmic joke the universe opened up and dumped all over me.

Because there, coming up behind me was another RV/Shopping cart. This one also had a toddler inside steering the thing and beeping the horn so that you'd want to die of the cuteness. And mom was pushing the cart, happily strolling down the aisle and pausing for a second to go around the obstacle, me, that was taking up so much space. And strapped to her chest, sleeping as only a newborn can sleep, was my comeuppance.

I swear I heard her whisper "Amateur" as she walked by.


Anonymous said...

She might have said amateur, but I bet she couldn't spell it.

And I'm telling you, I took Latin for 6 years. Nothing helped my grasp of other languages and grammar more. E pluribus unum, man. Now I know what our money says.

Cindy and Co. said...

I have four from ages 15 to 3. They all hate different foods and grocery stores. Your all However the top half of this post just saved my trying to keep acting like I know it all a**. Guess which 11 year olds homework you just did??? Now thats Karma. You may now consider your tuition well spent and begin collecting tenure....Thanks!

Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

I hate those carts. Seriously, I despise them. They are huge and hard to stir and cumbersome... have I mentioned that I don't like them? Plus I'm such a germophobe I'd have to spray one all over before I let Stella in. But hey, maybe then I could shop in peace. Oh, wait. Is that the point? Maybe I don't hate them so much.

Kyddryn said...

Heh...I make an effort to be kid-free at the grocery store - it may be the one time, every two weeks or so, that I can have some "me" time. Sad, huh?

Oh, and, umm...tibi gratias agimus quod nihil fumas, or some junk (I hope I remembered that right - it's been fifteen years or so since I had any Latin).

Shade and Sweetwater,

for a different kind of girl said...

The GAK at my house looks like slime, comes in this little plastic container, and makes a farting noise when you stick your finger in it. Boys love it. Me? Not so much (not as much as I totally heart your fancy English lesson. Oh, and alright, you. You, OK!?). I don't love it much, but it does allow me to get my grocery shopping done faster when they're with me, because if they take their GAK along, management tends to follow you around the bread aisle, giving you the wonk eye, and muttering something about how other customers are complaining.

I shall now commense using the word (or should I say verbum)'verbum'. Mostly to you. You will grow weary of it, but you shall never grow weary of me.


Rachel Coleman said...

"And there I was pushing Lucy in her wheelchair AND pushing a cart full of groceries while I signed to my deaf child, Leah..." (Which actually takes 4 hands if you are counting) It's not even fair, is it? (SIGH) But you are breaking my heart, so trump you I will.

BTW, My mom says, "hi!" (What?)

Cali said...

This made me crack up: Despite my perverse desire to end every sentence with a preposition, I finally know why prepositions are inappropriate for ending sentences with.

I guess you gave into that desire, right?

Goldfish said...

Kid-free at the grocery store? Heaven. Seriously, it makes me so happy that if I took my husband it could be like date night. And I almost took out an old lady with one of those enormous truck-cart-germ-mobiles the other day as I turned the corner into "canned goods."

Helen + ilana = Hi said...

Our kids are older now. We leave them at home. And go together. Yes that's right together. That's called a date and thanks to the size of our food bill it's the only kind we can afford!

Momma Trish said...

Damn! Caliandra already posted my comment! But for what it's worth, I too loved that sentence ... had to phone people and read it aloud. Heh!

anymommy said...

I have had so many of these moments. Now I know the correct noun. Thanks!

Unknown said...

hi Rachel!!!!

and you've been double GAKed with her comment!

Backpacking Dad said...

ilinap: what does that mean? "Backpacking Dad is the best"? I've only had two days so far.

cindy and co: You. Are. Welcome. See that? The universe dumps on me, but rains blessings down on you. That's just about balance.

elisa: they are pretty huge. but I found mine to be surprisingly maneuverable.

kyddryn: "Thank you for not smoking"? You people with your advanced Latin, upstaging me on my own blog!

FADKOG: You have taken my mediocre post and made it amazingly smart and hip!! I didn't even think to use "verbum" as one would use "word" when one is being all street and agreeing with someone else. That is awesome.

rachel coleman: You are the champion grocery store aisle navigator. Also, I'm feeling just a tad pervy to be reading your comment while watching you on television. Only a little. Not enough to make me turn the show off. The Dream round is on. Oh, and Hi Rachel's Mom! And Hi Signing Time office folks! And, uh, hi Rachel's entire family? And all of her friends? I don't feel at all like you are standing outside my window staring in at me. :}

caliandra: what? I don't know what you are referring to.

goldfish: I'll babysit. I need to collect more kids so I can go back to the grocery store with them and show that woman up. <--------again.

ilana: I've heard that when kids get older they can survive on television shows and dreams. That's not true? You still buy them food?

trish: Still no idea what you are talking about. Who have you been talking to?

anymommy: you are welcome. Glad to know I'm not the only one who gets Gak'd

Karen: yeah. whatever. Childrens television hosts coming here and showing me up on my blog.....;}

Swirl Girl said...


just word.

in this case it is both a noun and an interjection.

Natalie said...

well now. i can sign off and feel like i have learned something today. and my brain is hurting trying to figure it all out. of course i will have to sign back in tomorrow, because i will have forgotten today's lesson...but for today i thank you. i think.

Meg said...

I had to hop over since FADKOG links to you so often. I'm a different kind of jealous.

Also, Backpacking Dad, I'm Couchsurfing Mom (with a daughter named Erin).

Great GAK story! I hope it's part of a series. ;)

Ali said...

ali = total amateur
because i NEVER willingly take my children to the grocery store. heh.

MereCat said...

I'm just jealous you can even go to the grocery store. With 18 month old twins, you can't go flippin anywhere. Or you CAN go, you just can't buy anything, because so little will fit in the stroller basket. I can. not. wait. until I can use one of those car things. Drooling over the mere thought, I am.

BTW, I love ending a sentence with a preposition. I just like it.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

My children have never been in one of those carts. I'm the mean mommy that doesn't want to throw out her back trying to maneuver one of those unwieldy beasts through the market.

I would also like to punch the person in the face who thought those things were a good idea.

CaMaTaDaLisMa said...

I think it is so totally fantastic, if I may say so, that you're grasping such a PHENOMENAL of the English and Latin languages you're involved with. (lets check...adverb, adjectives, nouns, prepositions...I think I hit them all in that sentence...but maybe not).

In any case, the part about the dad throwing the crap in the cart after farting so he could get home to watch the game and eat nachos his wife had made had me ROFLMAO.

Yes..I have officially become 15 years old with that. LOL!!!

Rachel Coleman said...

Karen: Hi there, thanks for the shout out on BPD's blog. I am sure that makes him crazy. Cheers!

BPD: YOU feel like me and my peeps are staring at you?

Hmmm, how would that feel?

I really don't know. I can't even imagine.

cIII said...

Those carts with the Prius on the Front are hard to steer. Clean-up on Asile 5. We ( the Goat and I) may, or may not, be banned from the use of all Novelty type carts.

Anissa Mayhew said...

I just think that goes to show that until you've spawned another child, you go to the back of the "superior parenting" line. There's a pecking order, you know?

Melanie Sheridan said...

Those carts are the work of the Satan. I despise them. After Tootsie punches the inventor in the face I will then stomp on it.

Kristen said...

Hmmm...yes, those carts are dahhhling. And you know what's even cuter? When you're trying to squash a weeks worth of groceries in them to feed a family of five and the kids that just hhhaaaaddd to ride in it suddenly decided that it's too "crowded" in the driver's and passenger's seats and they would prefer a piggy back ride instead. And yes, I have pushed one of the friggin' carts with a kid on my shoulders and one on my back, with another wandering down the aisle behind me pleading, "when can we go???"

So yeah, I know what you mean. Supercuteness.

Anonymous said...

You know what's cute?

How you are totally crushing on poor Rachel. Dude. Stop creeping the poor woman out with your incessant stalking habit.

She'll quit making those cool shows and children around the world will be deprived of her awesomeness.

And it will BE ALL YOUR FAULT.

(Wait. I guess that's not so cute after all...)


Danielle said...

What aisle were you on?

Maybe she whispered "more butter"...


Anonymous said...

Dammit Backpacking Dad, will you please let Rachel go? Every time you mention Signing Time in your posts I get that goddamned theme song stuck in my head and Cannot. Shake. It.

All day now I'm singing that stupid song ("There's singing time and dancing time and playing time and now it is our favorite time, SIGNING TIME!!") and it is all your fault.

Even when you just mention it indirectly, I KNOW what you are talking about, and it starts all over again.

Stop. It.

Anonymous said...

There was this woman with one kid in the check out lane and she was telling me how hard it was for her to grocery shop with her son and how lucky I was because I had girls and girls are so much less physical and they sit still and "enjoy the ride".

Of course she didn't see Lucy push her sister out of the cart and into a crate of mangos just two seconds before.

I cancelled the bitch's play date.


Kei said...

"And all of her friends? I don't feel at all like you are standing outside my window staring in at me. :}"

Oh, but we are ;) And she zinged you but good... or GAK'd you, if you will.

BTW... Rachel pointed me to your blog, and now I'm hooked.

Backpacking Dad said...

Swirl Girl: awesome :}

Natalie: More to come.

prefers her fantasy life: Ha! FADKOG's constant linking finally piqued someone's curiosity! :}

ali: I'm waiting to see if they'll open a grocery store with a daycare inside.

merecat: well, Erin is 17 months. I'd have put her in the car thing earlier (she can sit up on her own fine) but she is so wriggly that I thought she'd get out somehow. Her desire to be in the car was the signal to me that I could put her in safely.

tootsie farklepants: they are suprisingly maneuverable, although long as hell.

tami: and you are welcome :}

rachel coleman: well, until you've had it happen to you....

ciii: that's awesome.

anissa mayhew: so I'm learning :}

mel, a dramatic mommy: I think "inventor of the RV/Cart" has a google alert set up so s/he is going to see you both coming.

kristen: You. Are. The. Champion.

Redneck Mommy: I can't help myself. The heart wants what it wants. You're just jealous. :}

danielle: that sounds like an innuendo. But it's over my head.

bejewell: Never!!!

the yummy mummy cooks gourmet: word. that'll learn her.

kei: I know! I am not creeped out in any way by it! My sincerity is loud and clear! Right?!? :}

Anonymous said...

Yay for Latin dorks!

Since my older two are 15 months apart, I had a very small window of life as an amateur. And my advice is: Enjoy it.