One of the joys of summer is the bountiful harvest of the farmers markets – fresh, healthy, organic produce and meat from Maine’s small farms and ranches. They are a Saturday ritual for my wife.

I, however, am the principal grocery store shopper. I love it all – the meal planning, the list making, the casual strolling up and down air-conditioned aisles. Though, if I’m honest, there’s an element of “control freak” involved. I like to control what I cook (another love of mine, and probably the reason my wife married me) and what I eat.

My affection for this leisurely Sunday-afternoon activity is colored by certain stubborn inflexibilities and misanthropic intolerances. I’m a creature of habit, so I hate shopping in a grocery store I’m not completely familiar with. I want to know exactly where the all-natural, no-salt, crunchy peanut butter is located. Also, I hate crowds. That’s why I shop on Sunday afternoons.

If you like to people-watch, there are few venues more entertaining than the grocery store. Many shoppers are dressed like they’re auditioning for an episode of the show “What Not to Wear.”

Baggy sweat clothes they wouldn’t wear to the worst gym. Neon-colored pants no golf course would allow. Funny hats hiding bad-hair days. No makeup. Unshaved faces. Flip-flops and even bunny slippers.

When I’m grocery shopping, I like to be anonymous, left alone. If I see someone I know, I change aisles. Confronted, I avoid eye contact. I sense many other shoppers feel this way too, noting their similar avoidance strategies. They should hand out face masks at the door.

Certain universal truths can be found in the grocery store.

For example, standing right in front of that coveted item there will always be someone reading a label for at least five minutes.

An over-caffeinated motorized cart driver will likely careen wildly through the aisles like a character from the recent “Mad Max” movie.

If you have a coupon for something you’d like to buy, you probably won’t find it.

And – my wife’s biggest complaint – if you become especially enamored of a product, just can’t live without it, the store will suddenly stop selling it.

Finally, a piece of serious grocery shopping advice: Never, ever use the express lane. It’s always the slowest checkout, no matter how few groceries you have or how short the line. The person ahead of you is bound to have debit card problems or a fistful of useless coupons.

I’ll be retired soon, so I’ll have more time to enjoy this simple, life-affirming pleasure. After grocery shopping, with the food cabinets full and the refrigerator and freezer restocked, I can’t help but feel a sense of replenishment and joyful accomplishment. If for no other reason than I know I won’t starve to death for at least one more week.

So if you see me in the grocery store, please don’t smile, wave or stop to chat. I’m on a mission to experience culinary enlightenment. And find my peanut butter.