Today’s the day. I can feel it in my bones. For three days I’ve been composing the perfect list, and today, after a week of being confined inside the perimeter of these stone walls, is Gadis Day.
I comb my hair and apply my dual finish powder foundation and Burt’s Bees “pucker” lip shine. I put on a shirt with buttons. I even clean my sunglasses.
As I pull the front gate closed, I stand still for a moment, half in fear because it’s exactly two o’clock and my neighbours will have something to say if they see me sneaking off during lunch hour, and half in sheer anticipation of what lies ahead.
Gadis isn’t just a supermarket. From the moment my handsome landlord David pointed out the cheery yellow building to me from atop the hill, I knew we’d become friends. As soon as I’d taken a nap to recover from my jet lag, I was there, walking through its sliding glass doors that face the pier.
With a cherry-red wheelie cart in tow, I perused its aisles, marvelling at things like the paprika selection – dulce (sweet), agrodulce (bittersweet), picante (spicy) – sold in colourful tins decorated with bosomy women. Speaking of bosoms, a whole row of cheeses called la tetilla (small tit) encased in butter-yellow wax beckoned. Ceramic pots filled with thick, dark-chocolate pudding also beckoned, as did candied chestnuts wrapped in gold.
Women working in the produce section wore white uniforms with green piping and matching caps. They took my produce and weighed it for me, twisting the bags closed with expert precision. Another handsome David worked the check-out aisle, teaching me how to say Graciñas – thank you, in Galician.
I’m not the only one enamoured with Gadis (which I discovered should be all caps GADIS, and deservedly so). Francesco Screti published an entire 15-page paper in the Journal of Argumentation in Context about the Galician supermarket chain, examining one of their advertising campaigns Vivamos como galegos – Let’s live like Galicians.
This afternoon, when the sliding glass doors swish open, I feel like I’m coming home. I put on the plastic gloves. My list quivers in my hands. Where to start first? The dish soap? The onions? As usual, I’m distracted by the cava section, the white asparagus section. I wonder how much I can carry home – can I manage the box set of limoncello and mini shell-shaped pasta?
When I see my produce lady friend I want to hug her. She smiles, the first human smile I’ve seen in a week. She helps me open the produce bags (a difficult task, in case you haven’t noticed, while wearing plastic gloves) and prints off perfect little stickers. I do another round of the aisles, even though I’m not supposed to, noticing a new black truffle mayonnaise, blueberry Tostaditas, a soft drink from Brazil called Guaraná Antarctica.
When it’s time to go I stand at the threshold, weighed down, yet lighter, and walk back out into the sunshine.