I go out for groceries about every ten days, which is about the time the Diet Coke runs out, and the veggies in my freezer are depleted. I have to replace fresh vegetables–the old standards tomatoes, celery, peppers, onions, potatoes, lettuce, bok choy, snow peas–and bread, which right now is brioche bread, something I should not be eating but fuck it, it’s a pandemic. I LOVE brioche bread. And rolls. And raisin bread. Brioche raisin bread is insanely good.
Unfortunately, only one grocery store in this little town carries brioche bread, and it’s not My Grocery. It’s the Annoying Grocery. So this week I went to the Annoying Grocery, where I had to stand in a six-feet-apart line to wait to get in because there’s a limit to the number of people inside at a time (150, if you want to be exact).
This made me strangely happy.
For one thing, it meant people here were taking this whole thing seriously. (Well, we’re in New Jersey, we better damn well take is seriously.). And the grocery had its plants on racks in the front of the store, and the line moved slowly enough that I found a Roma tomato plant. Yes, I know you don’t get the best plants at a grocery but I was thrilled. And then I got inside and of course they had no bok choy, but I was prepared for that. They did have Romas and some small deep red vine tomatoes, and shallots which are really hard to find, and some gorgeous leaf lettuce that I passed up for romaine. And a ton of brioche so I scored there. Then I got to the Diet Coke aisle and there was none. Okay, the apocalypse is here.
But then I went to My Grocery, where there was plenty of Diet Coke (although no Caffeine Free Diet Coke which means you should all brace yourself for a lot exclamation points !!!!!!! and ALL CAPS in the coming weeks) AND bok choy, and I realized I’d forgotten the celery in the Annoying Grocery, so I got that and some mini peppers and . . . somewhere in the middle of all that, I realized I was extremely happy.
It might have been just being surrounded by gorgeous produce, that’ll do it every time, but I think it’s also the idea that I was finding things instead of just picking them up. That everybody there was wearing a mask and being patient in line and keeping their distance while being wonderfully polite and pleasant. It’s weird to see people wearing masks, but it’s also a reminder that we’re all in this together (I know we’re not, I know lower income people are not living the life I am) and that even though it’s weird to wear a mask, at least we’re all being weird to protect each other. That’s a good thing.
I came home ridiculously cheerful, left my mask in its place in the car, let the dogs out, toted in a ton of vegetables and brioche bread, not to mention enough Diet Coke (!!!!!!!) to give me a caffeine high until September. And the happiness has stayed with me. It’s more difficult to shop now, but it’s not impossible. I have to search for things now, but that makes it a challenge, And I no longer think I look like an idiot in my mask. I think I look like part of something bigger than me. That makes me happy.
What made you happy this week?