I woke up early on Monday to stand in line at the grocery store. Got there at 6:45... in the fog... before the sun. We all stood 6 feet apart, waiting for the doors to open so we could all sprint to the paper goods aisle. Doors flew open, the manager welcomed us, the flag was dropped and the race was on. All of us in our 40's or 50's speed walking to aisle 6. When the first person got there, we could all tell that there were no goods to be had, so we all kind of casually turned down the other rows, acting like we actually came in for baby formula or light bulbs.
No paper. I have not purchased tp in about 3 weeks. My husband was lucky enough to stumble upon a 6 pack at Walgreens. In the afternoon, at that! That was like discovering gold during the gold rush. It was a sweet victory for the suburbs. He came home like he had won a major award... and truly, he did. It reminds me of going to a pond and feeding the fish or the ducks. Throw a little piece of bread in the water and if you are one of the lucky ones to be close, or just happen to be there when we walked up, you win! But, whatever you do, do not put your hand close to the beaks. Do not try to beat Ms. Pinky Sweatpants to Aisle 6 on a Monday morning either. You could get your hand bit... or at least pecked at. I was going to let her take alllll of the good tp.. and we would take the cheap, scratchy, recycled almost passing for tp, 1 ply. I was kind of grateful to see the disappointment on her face, even though we came up empty handed. I think I bought whatever was on the shelf in the next aisle...pickles or something like that, just to make the waking up worth it. She, on the other hand, huffed and puffed and left. Good. Take your pink negative energy to the next lucky store. She probably has a garage full of Cottenelle.
Everyone else was delightful. Laughing at our circumstances, kind to the cashiers and the manager, grab a few things and go. The shelves looked sad. The produce looked pretty good. I think people are buying comfort food and throwing their diets to the wind. Hell, they can't go and work out, why should they eat well? I was surprised at the bounty of green.
When I walked out to my car, no one was standing in line to get in. They perhaps had experienced this last week and decided to just to chance it, coming in at 7:15... they were the smart ones. Leisurely driving through the lifted fog, easily parking their SUV's, sauntering through the parking lot, sanitizing their carts and totally avoiding the produce section. They didn't even bother turning on their blinker to turn left on 6. They drove right past it to the frozen section, where they could fill their super sanitized baskets with tater tots, frozen pizza and something the store folks found in the forgotten freezers in the way back of the walk-in from Christmas. Pie crust or something like that.
Do you remember the Nematode episode of Sponge Bob? Where he invited all of his Nematode friends over for a party and they ate and destroyed everything? That was the store.
It felt a little third world-ish, in sight and in desperation. I guess we are all dealing with this the best way we know how. Some folks need the pie crust and some folks need pickles. Some folks are kind and some are huffy. Some wear gloves and masks and some wear their pj's. There isn't a lot of joy in the grocery lately. I remember the good ol days (4 weeks ago) , when I would get a coffee from Starbucks, grab a dirty hand basket, clean it casually with the abundant wipes, take a squirt of the free hand sanitizer (because what if someone had a cold who used it before me?) skip blissfully through the wine, bakery, fish, meat and yes.. the paper goods section... feeling free and fine.
Makes me appreciate those carefree moments. The simplicity and ease of our lives. The kindness of the employees and the glorious blessing of good health.
May your aisles be filled with paper towels and no one having to wear gloves to shop. May your pie crusts be few and your eggs be many. May you and yours be surrounded by sunshine and freshest of fruit. May we all be able to stop in the aisles and talk, even if it's with Miss Sweatpants.
May we all be blessed.