Do you LIKE grocery shopping? I never used to enjoy going grocery shopping. (I’ve vented about the Horrors of Shopping with Kids before.) It was never something I looked forward to.

Not until my youngest started school.

Oh, I said it. You see, that was when I knew I could actually shop… in peace.

Shopping without kids for me is like spending an hour in a charming European village with cobblestone streets. It’s pathetic, but true.

The fact that I can wander the feminine aisle without someone asking, “Can I have some? What is that, mommy?” is exhilarating.

That I can put a brick-sized bar of dark chocolate in the cart and hide it in the back of the pantry? Zen.

That I can smile (that knowing mom-to-mom smile) to another mother as she whisper-yells to her kids to be quiet in the cookie aisle?

Like falling into child’s pose.

Knowing that I have to take a trip to the grocery store at least twice a week, I’ve started to make a game of it. The fun part is actually at the end of my list and the beginning of the check-out line.

The few times I don’t have to race back for a meeting or appointment, after I cross off all the items on my list, I search for the longest check-out line.

Yes, the LONGEST line.

Why, you ask?

So I can stop and smell the roses?

Not exactly. Unless Sarah Jessica Parker has one pinned to her adorable sweater jacket.

It’s actually so I can see who wore what best.

And find out why so and so left so and so. What she said. What he thinks.

What’s on trend for Spring. The newest hairstyles.

How I can find happiness in six easy steps. How I can stay fit in five minutes a day.

And so I can read all about Lena Dunham, and see how cute she looks in her photo shoot in Vogue.

Yes, I am one of those women who shamelessly flips through magazines while waiting in the check-out line. I’m a marketer’s dream…in the market.

And I enjoy every minute of it.

I think of it as junk food for the brain.

I try to suck in as much information as I can in a matter of minutes. And as soon as I notice that the lady in front of me has enough items to feed a soccer team, I head straight for something like O, Marie Claire, In Style, Vogue, Real Simple, People or US Weekly. I rarely read OK magazine, because, and mark my words, they feature mostly lies. But People and US Weekly? Now these guys are the bomb. They’re practically the kings of truth (especially when it comes to useless information).

I am a maniac. A maniac..for magazines.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still like to hold the glossy pages in my hands rather than digest it all online.

Just as the check-out line thins out, and the white-haired woman has finished counting her manila envelope of coupons, I realize it’s almost time. Just as I’m desperately trying to find out Oprah’s secret to feeling and looking good, I know it’s time. Time to say goodbye to the pages that make my brain smile and hello to the teen behind the cash register. It’s time to start lining up my groceries on the conveyer belt. So I buy one magazine. Just one.

And as soon as I get home, I hide the magazine away. And then, when everyone else is reading or drawing or watching TV, I open it up and happily consume every last page…along with my secret stash of dark chocolate.