Sunday, 20 April 2008

Beer, Beer, Beer and more Beer

One day of the weekend is what I need to recharge. A day when I am doing nothing but sitting in a cafe with a book and just doing what I want to do. This weekend, Saturday was the chosen "me day". So when Chandler called to say they wanted to meet for lunch, my instantaneous response was, "come over, I will cook". I was in no mood to take the Tube, wait in a long queue, sit in a crowded place, eat and then take the Tube back home.

As I was leaving to buy groceries, I was instructed to buy Beer for Chandler. We had to ensure that we were being good hosts. Now, you see, that is quite a challenge for me. Selecting wine I can handle (a tip here: try the South African Pinotage. It's different). Picking liquor is easy, right! But beer................................

Anyway. What had to be done had to be done. So after picking my veggies, juices and herbs, I made my way to the beer aisle. Now, kindly note here that I have never considered beer as something which is worth consuming. Hence, the beer aisle was always meant to be ignored, till I was forced to acknowledge it yesterday. A full length of an aisle packed with beer was a somewhat of a shock to my system. To start with there was light beer, then there was beer with 4.5% alcohol content, then there was beer with 5.0% alcohol content, then there was imported beer, then there was Mexican beer and to top it all there also was a Blonde Beer!!! Oh, how can I forget the very inconspicuous Indian beer!

Now, I had to focus. What do I pick? I thought of an easy way out. I called Chandler. Very sweetly I explained to him that I was buying beer for him and would like to know his preference. His response was not helpful at all. “Sweetie, pick what you like. I am not fussed at all.” No amount of cajoling got him to tell me what he wanted. That meant I had to select one out of all these varieties in front of me, all of which seemed equally bitter and unpalatable.

I was walking up and down the aisle, trying to absorb the variations when Mr. Tesco (how I would like to refer to the supermarket attendant) passed me by and gave me looks as if to say, “so you did not have enough to drink last night did you!”. “You moron, I did not even touch the pitcher of Sangria last night (took some effort though I must admit) and I am trying to pick something for a friend”, I felt like screaming in response to his snigger. Well I kept my cool and went on and about with my task.

I finally picked up four bottles of Becks (other than Carlsberg, this was the only other familiar name around). In a hurry to get home and start cooking, I decided to go to the self service check out tills. Diligently I scanned each item and placed it into the carry bag. Then came the tomatoes. Damn, I did not see if I had picked the vine tomatoes or the beef tomatoes! Well, I punched in beef tomatoes and suddenly Mr. Tesco sneaked up from behind my shoulder. With another giggle he says, “My dear, these are not beef tomatoes. These are vine tomatoes. You should look twice next time. Beef tomatoes are much more expensive” He cancels my incorrect entry and moves on. His looks tell me, “better to stay away from all that beer..giggle giggle giggle”.

I was not a happy camper! I picked the four pack of Becks and scanned it. Nothing. Tried again. Still Nothing. So I placed the pack, admittedly a little too forcefully on the scanner, and damn! One bottle broke! There was beer everywhere! Now I was in a rush, not happy and embarrassed!

How could Mr. Tesco miss my embarrassing moment! So he came once again with his smirking face. “You should ask for help my dear. Don’t worry, I will wait here and you get another pack. Or do you want me to get a replacement for you.” I felt like retorting, “Mr. I am very capable of helping myself so keep your snide remarks to yourself!”

I went back to the aisle and this time picked a pack of four cans of Stella Artois. I did not want to break another bottle and there were no cans in Becks. Stella also seemed familiar. Now why did I not think of buying the cans earlier!!!! Slowly I made my way back to the waiting Mr. Tesco. I scanned the cans and very graciously Mr. Tesco approved my purchase (all alcohol purchased in the UK needs to be approved to ensure that the buyer is of the right age). He did think I was over 21 did he not! Idiot! Moron!

With my beer expedition over, I came home and cooked. Chandler came home. Helped me cook. Enjoyed the grub. But did not even touch the beer! So much so for all the trouble! Now I have four cans of Stella in my refrigerator, sitting there hoping to be opened someday by someone. Any takers?

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