Lost in the Supermarket
Navigating the Aisles and the New World
It was a terrifying experience.
I went shopping with my wife at a local Market Basket store.
Social distancing has affected the way millions of people are living their lives, and rightly so. My wife and I had the same heartfelt discussions that countless other couples have had about it.
And she was all in … until it was time to get some groceries.
I timidly entered the store and immediately Texas two-stepped my way through the aisles. I swerved and wove my shopping cart as if competing in an Olympic slalom … trying to avoid as many people as possible.
My wife? She simply walked in and through the place as if she owned it. I swear, I think I even saw her shove a couple out of the way to get at the lettuce.
At one point, just walking behind her put me in such a state of utter horror that I finally had to speak up.
“Hey,” I said to my life mate, “are you paying ANY attention to that concept we talked about, that social distancing thing?”
“Of COURSE, I am, whadda ya mean?” she said, affecting her expression of wide-eyed innocence that, for me, never grows old.
But I stayed on point. “What do I mean? I just saw you pass THREE people, and each time there was barely enough space to slip a piece of paper between the two of you.”
She vowed to do better. But, of course, old habits die hard. This social distancing concept is something none of us have had to grapple with before.
When we were checking out, I literally had to grab her by the belt and pull her toward me. Lively conversation ensued until I pointed out that the syphilitic-looking gent behind her, while starting to unload his groceries, was so close he could have picked her pocket.
Like SO many others, my wife wasn’t being stubborn or argumentative. She was following a lifetime’s worth of ingrained habits.
Oh, she grabbed a bunch of antiseptic wipes as we left to make sure we cleaned our hands, the steering wheel, our bags … we may have even wiped down the dog in the car next to us.
So we were at least trying to be good citizens in this brave new world.
And there was a colorfully detailed discussion on the way home. She promised to do better, and I tried to recover from the trauma of it all, wondering all the while whether I could deal with another ordeal like that.
These fears turned out to be unfounded. My beloved has since become much better at social distancing. Perhaps the transformation began with the chat we had later in that frightening Market Basket day when I said, “If I get this thing, and if it takes me out, please, please, I do not want the reason for my passing to be listed as The Deli Counter.”
I hope more and more people respond to the social distancing dictates the way my wife did. I also hope researchers soon discover that lobster meat builds up the immune system.