The Dreaded Butter Loop



I’m an awful shopper. I often have to be forced to shop for even the most bare essentials.

When I do shop, I can only shop for a little while. I am usually drained when I’m done.

For the most part this has minimal negative consequences. I usually don’t think I need anything. The challenge to my existence arises when applied to grocery shopping. I do need to eat.

I prefer eating a fairly simple diet. This takes some fuss out of shopping. The fact that I never make a list adds the fuss back in. This usually means I miss something.

Even in my simple diet there are some staples required for cooking: butter, eggs, oils, etc. When you find you don’t have one of these in the middle of a dish preparation (no I didn’t check before I started), things can get dicey and improvisations occur. The improvisations are not always good.

So as best I can I make a mental note that I am out of that staple in hopes I will remember next time I go shopping. Strangely enough the mental note seems to work most of the time. I will remember that I ran out of butter and I will buy butter.

The problem is that these mental notes are not very good with time. They do not understand that time for me is still mostly linear and they were placed in my subconscious on a timeline for a reason.

They are also apparently created (like Twinkies) without an expiration date. They don’t seem to want to go away. They are like poorly constructed computer code that gets caught in a loop.

So I am at the grocery store again and my mental note tells me I need butter. Now I did indeed buy butter during my last trip to the store. My mental note does not seem to care. And I, wisely or unwisely, trust my mental note more than I trust my memory. I buy more butter.

Now after I’ve done this the third time and see the almost three pounds of butter in the fridge I make another mental note: I do not need more butter.

The next time I am at the grocery store my mental note tells me I don’t need more butter. I don’t buy butter. And the next time and the next time: no butter. This mental note stays in place until the next time I go to make a dish with butter and there is no butter. Note to self: need butter.

While there are obviously significant flaws in this method, it does seem to create a predictable pattern that supplies me with butter most of the time. Though I suspect if you used these methods in the laboratory, you would end up with a rather neurotic mouse.

About joegergen

To evoke a smile. That's all. Author of "Methane Wars: A Fable" and "Lear's Fool" as well as various poems and some these painting things as well.
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