Monday, March 29, 2021

I Went To The Grocery Store Today

For the first time in 54 weeks, I went grocery shopping.  The last time we were in the store was March 12, 2020.  We were stocking up for two weeks at home, filling a cart with milk and eggs and bacon and ice cream.  We didn't think about toilet paper.  We certainly didn't think it would be more than a year before one of us ventured back inside.

This trip involved preparation, where our last one was a giggle-fest of what can't we do without for a fortnight? We made a quick list for dinner.  I found an N95 mask to add below my NaomiNomi mask and ventured out.

I've been in the parking lot over the past year, visiting the dry cleaner and the UPS store.  But they appear before Albertsons.  Today, I had to contend with the main piece of that lot.  For a moment, I forgot which aisle I liked.  Parking, turning off the car, donning my face coverings - everything took on monumental significance.

I was almost to the store when I realized that the list was still on the front seat of the UV.  

On my second try, I was presented with a choice - carts neatly lined up to the right of a CLEANED AND READY arrow, and RETURN CARTS HERE to the left of another.  In the past, the carts were strewn helter skelter.  Things have certainly changed, I thought as I stood there thinking it, and I haven't even gone inside.

I grabbed a cart and the doors opened as I turned.  It was bright, probably no brighter than it ever was, but startling to eyes that haven't seen that many lumens at once in a while.  Most everything was where it had been last year, but I didn't take time to browse.  I shopped the outside edge of the store and only noticed the red ONE WAY arrows on the floor as I went the wrong way over the one before the cashiers.

I stayed back and kept my groceries back and noticed that no one had their own bags dividing one order from another, the way it used to be.  I thought about the surface on which I was placing my unbagged-because-why-use-more-plastic-than-necessary fruits and veggies for the first time ever.  I left my credit card in the reader for much too long, distracted as I was by the magazine covers behind the checker's head. I had to be prompted to enter my phone number so they can give me discounts as they track my every purchase.

How are you, today wondered the kid bagging my produce.

It's the first time I've been in the store in more than a year.  Honestly, I don't know how I am right now.

He didn't miss a beat.  He didn't look surprised.  

Yeah, I can imagine.

He'd obviously seen whatever was on my face many times before.  

I couldn't wait to get home.


  1. I have another week until full immunity. Then I am going to the Container Store!!!!!!!! Shoes seem to have multiplied in the last year, so closet storage must go up, since no horizontal expansion is possible. I am looking forward to browsing. We've shopped the past year, but we've looked pretty feral, getting in and getting out as fast as possible.

    1. Today I went into Michaels, trying to match yarn. Everyone was masked and distant. It felt almost normal.

  2. Believe me, I understand what you mean. I went to Lowe's the other day to get some items for a painting project. 1st time in over a year. Made me appreciate what I can get from Amazon w/o mingling with the general public. I had my 2nd shot a month ago but I am still not totally comfortable in a store. Wonder if and when I ever will.

    1. Totally Comfortable seems like a goal to strive towards. I kept looking around, trying to maintain my personal space.

  3. It is kind of a strange new world out there. Some of my Zoom contacts are anxious to go in-person for groups and others like the virtual gatherings os much they might continue. Seems some decided they like not having to go out for everything.


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