CAST: ME and MOM
SETTING: Early evening. September 16, 2015. Suburban New Jersey, USA. In the baking aisle at the supermarket, we shop for groceries to prepare for Mom's weekend church event.
We slowly walk down the baking aisle, as MOM checks her list of items against each shelf's content. We pause mid-row.
MOM: Where? Is that the relish?
ME: We're not in the relish aisle.
MOM: What are you pointing at?
ME: They took off her scarf and gave Aunt Jemima a perm.
MOM: Maybe it was a press n' curl.
MOM: And they gave her earrings.
MOM: The earrings look nice.
ME. Oh my God. That's not the point.
MOM: I didn't say it was. But the earrings do look nice. I like pearls.
ME: I know you do.
MOM checks the sales flyer against the cornmeal shelf. She picks up the box with Aunt Jemima on it.
ME: Don't buy that!
MOM: I wasn't going to...but it is on sale.
MOM: Don't get upset with me. I'm not the one who put Aunt Jemima on the box.
ME: Look at the shelf. What would be our alternative if we needed to buy cornmeal right now?
MOM: Indianhead corn meal. But we don't need cornmeal we need relish.
ME: They don't even have which nation, just 'Indianhead'. That's a damned shame.
MOM: Don't curse.....but it is a shame.
ME: I'm not cursing.
MOM: 'Damned' is a curse word.
ME: But I needed to use it.
MOM: Just because you think needed to use it doesn't mean it's not a curse word.
ME: I didn't think I needed to use it. I actually needed to use--
MOM: Why do you have to use the word 'damned' at all?
ME: Because that's the word I need. The whole situation is damned. Really, I---
MOM steals a glance at nearby shoppers.
MOM: You just want to curse.
ME: No one heard me.
MOM: I did.
ME: And I didn't say 'God damned'.
MOM: You don't need to. It's a curse word either way.
MOM: No you're not.
ME: Yes I am.
MOM: Stop playing and get me some relish.
ME: Calm down.
MOM: You're the one getting upset.
ME: I'm not upset.
MOM: I'm tired. You're standing here talking about Aunt Jemima and Indians on cornmeal packages and we still don't have any relish.
ME: I thought we had relish at home.
MOM: That's our relish. I need relish for the potato salad for the church.
ME: Do you think God cares whose relish you use for His potato salad?
MOM: What are you talking about?
ME: The relish for God's potato salad.
MOM: We need relish.
ME: No we don't.
MOM: In a minute we're going to need prayer.
ME: Maybe we need to pray right now that the relish label isn't offensive.
MOM: I hate to run out of relish when I'm making potato salad.
ME: Me too.
MOM: You don't cook.
ME: I know, but potato salad isn't cooking. It's more like chopping and mixing.
MOM: Please just go and get the relish.
ME: I hope the label's not depressing.
MOM: The label is green. Like the relish.
ME: Aunt Jemima isn't white or yellow like the cornmeal.
MOM: I don't need cornmeal for my potato salad so stop talking about Aunt Jemima.
ME: That's not what I meant.
MOM: Are you going to get the relish or am I going to have to get it myself?
MOM checks her list once again as I investigate the flour labels.
We move our cart to the side as a young couple with their little girl in their cart brushes past us. They look like a Happy Family Greeting Card.
ME (CONT'D): Excuse me.
MOM: I'll bet their daughter is doing what they asked her to do.
ME: What, stay in the cart? She's less than two.
MOM: So were you before we got in here and started looking for the relish.
ME: I'm going.
I begin to walk away, and then turn back.
ME: I really am upset about the cornmeal labels. We should do something, shouldn't we? We can do something. It just makes me feel sad on so many levels.
MOM: You can feel as sad as you want after you get the relish. Are you going to help me finish shopping and peel those potatoes when we get home or not?
ME: I said I was.
MOM: I heard what you said.
ME: I'm just asking a question.
MOM: You never 'just' ask a question.
ME: I do.
MOM: Go get the relish.
ME: Meet me at the checkout. Start walking now. I'll catch up.
MOM: Don't tell me what to do.
ME: Do you want to get the relish?
MOM: I thought you were.
ME: I am. What are you going to do while I'm getting the relish? You can be walking to the checkout.
MOM: I can be doing a lot of things. You just worry about getting the relish.
I quickly start toward the relish aisle.
MOM (CONT'D): Hurry up. And try to get a jar without any pictures of people on the label.