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In Annapolis, I somewhat enjoyed grocery shopping. I love cooking, so going to the grocery store was like the first step. I knew our Safeway like the back of my hand. I knew exactly what brands I liked, and which were overpriced. I took care in selecting each piece of fresh fruit to make sure I took the best one home with me. I could do it all on my own.

Here, grocery stores are different. Everyone wants to do everything for me. One of the first times I went to Pikar – the most western-looking store in town – a worker yanked my bag of apples out of may hand and started re-bagging them for me. I became irate and Sean couldn’t understand why.

It continued. I couldn’t grab my own juice, flour, olives, you name it. Someone wanted to do it for me. By the time we left the store I was fuming but also trying to figure out why I was so angry. Did it really matter that the guy picked a different bag of potato chips than the one I’d intended to select? That’s stupid!

It hit me about a day later. I was mad about the loss of my independence.

The grocery store is just one example of this. And I know in the back of my head the grocery store workers are just trying to be helpful, but at the same time I want to yell “back off and let me shop for goodness’ sake!”

We went to Uzbekistan and they wouldn’t let us pump our own gas. I can’t carry anything without someone trying to take it from me. I probably should view all these things as chivalrous, but it doesn’t feel that way. These minute tasks give me independence, and having those small things taken from me irks me to no end.

All the more reason to dream of Target and Safeway where I can pick out stuff on my own. Dammit.

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