Day 45. Agoraphobia is not a fear of peanuts as the picture below may suggest. It is in fact a fear of public places.
Supermarket madness (that’s just the line for peanuts)

I must be mad or at least suffering from slight amnesia. Every time I grocery shop in a large retail supermarket- I always promise myself it will be the last time. It’s crowded. And there are children. Crying, whaling children who throw ice cream tantrums. Don’t even get me started on their parents. Every time I am at Lulus, or even Sultan Center- my irritability level just shoots up. I went to Sultan Center at 7:30 in the morning once- best favor I ever did for myself. Oh the quite buzzing of the fridges and the chirping of the cashier machines. I could hear myself recite the grocery list in my head. And the grocery list is a big deal. Any list is a big deal for me. This is where My Cynthia will most definitely leave a comment on my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder again (which note: I do not have!). I am just precise. Also, I am more-than ever aware of my immense ability to blank out THE MOST important details. I cannot be trusted to buy bread and milk, unless bread and milk is clearly specified on the list. Go back to sentence one, I told you I am suspecting amnesia!

But back to grocery shopping- in Muscat, it’s a real challenge. The “expat friendly” supermarkets are Al Fair, Carrefour and Sultan Center (retail) and this is where the joy of any self-respecting shopper lies. The variety of pop-tarts and chip-dips is immense, the shelves-cleverly merchandized, the staff-helpful. These shops would typically be priced slightly above their competitors. On the other hand, you have the slightly larger and cheaper supermarkets such as Lulu and Sultan Center wholesale, these are the ones to enter at your own risk. It’s like stepping into the Moscow metro at rush hour. There is just no respect for personal space, people stare-and I have argued this point over and over again. It’s not me- it’s them. I could be in my husband’s dirty work overalls and they would still stare. It’s sick and unpleasant. Oman has elevated my agoraphobia to levels I never thought possible. Standing at the cashier while the lady in front of me unloads a trolley full of fat and sugar enhanced goodies, while her kids hit each other over the head with their newly purchased Batman action figures- is not my idea of an evening well spent. Hence I have found the perfect formula, we buy in bulk (meat, poultry, canned goods, juices, beverages, desserts) once a month at one of the large supermarkets (PANIC!!!), and I get through the experience quickly and painlessly-like ripping off a BandAid. Then we fill in the nooks and crannies with perishables once a week at the cool, well-lit, half-empty, posh and proper supermarkets in town. Ah bless. Compromise.