Category Archives: bagging

No Net

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No Net

I haven’t wanted to write for months. I’m having a difficult time coming to terms with the enormity of this situation. I force myself to do the self care things that have helped  me to remain sober for more than 36 years…I eat well, exercise, start my day with gratitude, pray…yet, I find myself fighting that gravitational pull. That invisible, powerful force that wants to take me down. I don’t want to die, I just don’t want to do anything.

Early on I acknowledged to myself that I wasn’t going to Marie Kondo my way through this mess. I may get around to tidying up my desk of shame in the kitchen if the urge hits. I will not be learning a new language, sewing masks (they would suck), or (sigh) writing the great American novel (or the mediocre pandemic novel).

I’m shadowboxing depression and my usual moves are tired, weak.

I go through the motions anyway, a weird automatic setting that kicks in like a worn out, haggard looking Stepford Wife. I feed my family (a seemingly endless loop of meals), I do the laundry, I get my ass outside to walk, I check in on my elderly clients and my mom, try to find the humor…I’m struggling, I mean, aren’t we all?

Mind you, I have no reason to complain. I live in a spacious house with people that are not abusive or threatening. Sure we get on each other’s nerves but I’m not in danger here. My awareness that other people do not have a safe space haunts me. Women are getting beaten by abusive partners, children live in fear of their parents, many people are hungry, cold and without adequate shelter and I feel powerless.

I worry about marginalized people, the ones that were barely making it before the virus. Minorities afraid to wear masks in public because that may be more dangerous then not wearing one…people living on the street, those scraping by paycheck to paycheck, the uninsured, the ones with no safety net whatsoever…I used to be a member of that club.

It sounds great to call grocery store workers heroes. The truth is most of them work to survive, they don’t want to stock shelves, run the register or listen to you bitch about a lack of mangoes, they don’t have a viable alternative. They prefer to live indoors with electricity and running water.

Prior to this sh*t storm it was not unusual for me to be at several grocery/specialty stores in a week, sometimes several in a day. I would take my elderly clients out food shopping, to the butcher, etc, then I would go shopping for my family. If someone wanted the Brooklyn Bread, I would drive 15 minutes to that store….croissants, no problem, 12 minutes in the opposite direction. Need Italian cookies (the real ones with an almond base and pignoli nuts), I know a place (stated in a NY accent with exaggerated hand gestures). Back in the carefree days of early March, I was the step & fetch it gal for my family for each whim and craving. That horse has left the barn and in the immortal words of Ke$ha, I ain’t coming back.

Tik Tok Bitches

By the second week of March I realized that exposing myself to multiple stores in different geographic areas was high risk. So I hunkered down to one local store, once a week (or less) and made due with what I could get. I also shop for my mother and my elderly clients, I look like a hoarder whenever I go. I tried the online shopping with dismal results so this is my new normal.

I happen to know one of the workers at my store. Lindsay (not her real name) is a friend of a friend. Sadly our mutual friend passed away a few years ago and I was the one that broke the news to her. We have bonded over our grief and are on friendly terms. I always look for her when I shop, let’s face it, that’s pretty much the only real life social interaction I get outside of my home.

I was shopping two Fridays before Easter, April 3rd. My intention was to get enough for three households to make it past Easter. It was a monster order. My large cart was overflowing and I required two carts to get everything to my car. Lindsay bagged my groceries and helped me take groceries to my car that day. I was careful, I had a mask on even though it wasn’t required yet. I have a habit of bringing hand sanitizer in my pocket when I go into the store so I can put it on before I touch my door handles. I took those precautions.

As we were loading my car, Lindsay talked about wanting a mask. I happened to have an extra one in my car. Nothing exotic, just a basic dust mask. A different friend of a friend gifted me with a 4 pack of them about a month ago. I offered one to Lindsay and she accepted with gratitude. That was the last time I saw Lindsay face to face.

On April 15th I got a Facebook message from Lindsay. I commented that I missed her in the store when I went on April 14th. Turns out Lindsay and her partner both tested positive for COVID 19, they were 8 days into isolation. She didn’t go into too many details just that it was awful and scary. I offered to shop for them, cook, anything…she declined said they were covered for now.

I haven’t heard from her in a week.

 

 

If you have the means and feel inclined, I urge you to donate to the charity of your choice during this time. Here are links to two charities that are dear to me –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check It Out

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Check It Out

I’m a bit of an @sshole when it comes to bagging my own groceries. I don’t have too many OCD tendencies except for this particular task. I prefer to use my own bags (when I remember them) and I have very specific ideas of what should and shouldn’t be bagged together. These are basically common sense notions except somewhere down the line common sense got his @ss kicked and now he’s afraid to leave the house.

I don’t think I’m too exotic with my grocery bag wishes. Put heavy stuff on the bottom of the bag so the “delicates” (Oreos, chips, the good stuff) don’t get crushed. Keep the cold stuff together (that’s right the warm roasted chicken should not coexist in the same bag as the ice cream). Put more than three things in a bag. I’m one of those “one trip” people. To finish things off, I like to play grocery store Tetris. Basically I get a small cart, load a large carts worth of groceries into it and then see if I can get them back in, good times. I always intend to go in for 4 things and come out with about 37 things, so there’s that.

bagger-crushed-my-oreos-again.jpg

My bagging preferences have not gone unnoticed by the workers. Just the other day my son and I were checking out with the three things we went in for (plus the additional 34 items we didn’t need). It played out like this –

Cashier: “Do you want a plastic bag for the meat?”

Me: “No thanks.”

4 seconds later….cashier reaches for the plastic bag with her left hand, meat is in the right hand.

Me: “It’s OK, I don’t need a plastic bag for that.”

Cashier continues to place the meat in the plastic bag. At which point I give the WTF is happening here look. She sees the look and continues…

Cashier:”I just think it’s better if the meat is in plastic…you don’t want sausage flavored lasagna.”

Me: “Interesting you should point that out, Susan. I do in fact want sausage favored lasagna.”

The next 2 minutes continued in an awkward exchange of the cashier explaining all the reasons why I should have this bag. I spent the time saying “OK” and fighting the urge to laugh and smack her…I was torn between the urges. I saw the ridiculousness of the situation for what it was and yet I was still pissed at her blatant disregard for my very clear instructions. Basically I went into pick your battles mode and did not escalate the situation. My son and I laughed about it on the way out.

This isn’t the only time I’ve encountered a bagging “situation” at this store. A while back I was checking out in a lane which had an overly aggressive bagger. This woman gets visibly pissed if you want to bag your own groceries. Here’s the tricky part, she has special needs. So I’m an instant @sshole for having any kind of an issue with her. Last year she threw my own tomato at me, I sh*t you not. I know she takes her job very seriously so I am mindful of the words I chose when we we interact. Here’s how it went down –

Me: “Regina, can you pass me that tomato, I want to keep the produce together?”

Regina then threw the tomato in my general direction with an angry scowl on her face.

Me: “Alright, then.”

Regina: “Sorry.”

So now I have one cashier and a bagger that I need to avoid when shopping. Does this happen to anyone else?