Northport, Alabama

(With apologies to children’s author Laura Joffe Numeroff and Visa)

If you show a girl a picture that she likes, she will probably want to take one of her own. And if she decides she wants to take a picture, she’ll inevitably look around the house and declare to her boy that there’s nothing there, so she will have to go to Publix. Once they get to Publix, she’ll want to get some ice cream, Häagen-Dazs strawberry of course, because the picture that she liked had a strawberry in it. After she gets her ice cream, she’ll realize that she needs a bowl — not just any bowl, but a very special ice cream bowl — the kind that looks good in pictures. And being an indecisive girl, she will more than likely get a bowl in every color. Since there are nifty ice cream scoops hanging conveniently near the bowls, she will probably end up with one of those too, just in case she can’t find any of the three that she has at home.

By this time, she will probably be a little hungry, so she’ll start to think about eating the ice cream after she photographs it. And since the very best thing to eat with strawberry ice cream is chocolate, she will probably throw a jar of Smucker’s Sundae Syrup into the cart just for good measure. By this point, she will be walking past the produce section, which will remind her that pictures like this usually have a few fresh strawberries scattered around the bottom of the bowl. So of course, she will end up with a small container of strawberries, which will remind her that she needs whipped cream so that they will not go to waste after the shoot. Thinking about strawberries and whipped cream makes her think of good red wine until she remembers — she lives in a small Alabama town — no alcohol on Sundays.

Since she has to have something to drink with her ice cream and Coke has too many calories, she will end up with a carton of Dasani. But thinking about the calories she is planning to consume will probably make her feel a little guilty, so she will resolve to walk on the treadmill tomorrow at the community center. Of course, she will need energy for this endeavor, so she will probably grab a bag of bagels to have for breakfast. Since bagels sort of need something to go with them, she will pick up a container of cream cheese, which is coincidentally located across from the lox — a perfect way to get rid of the capers that have been hiding in the dark recesses of her cabinets since the last time she got a craving for bagels and lox.

By this point, she will be really enjoying this shopping excursion and thinking about more foods she can photograph, which will remind her that she has been wanting a wooden butcher-block cutting board to use as a prop. By this time, the girl will have been rejoined by her boy, who will have found a number of items of his own, including potato chips and more vegetarian food than any good Southerner should ever be forced to eat. Staring in disbelief at how a quick trip for ice cream can become a shopping extravaganza, he will probably usher her to the cash registers at this point, debit card in hand and protesting all the way. As quickly as he can, he will whisk her to the door and back to the confines of home, where he will go to sleep and she will begin the process of shooting her photograph. After she is finished, someone will have to eat the ice cream, so she will grab a spoon and settle in front of her PowerBook for an hour or two of surfing her favorite websites. And if she goes to some of her favorite sites, she will probably see a picture that she likes, which will remind her that she needs to go to Publix…

A simple shot of strawberry ice cream? $62.08. Doing something that scares the hell out of you? Priceless.

Music of the day: Wild by Poe (lyrics)

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