Going to the store now for me is like . . . like playing tug of war or escaping the fiery keep of a dragon. I flit around the store, flailing my body about the square footage as quickly as possible. All the while, in my head, I sing, “Get in. Get out. Get in. Get out.” It is a test of my stamina. How fast can I retrieve the seven items I came in here for, hmm?
I am friendly, but from a distance. I watch the people around me — looking at what they’ve touched — avoiding it. My senses are enhanced — heightened, somehow. I am a supreme ninja jutting through tight spaces, maneuvering myself through the lines of an obstacle course made of rotating germs and aggravated naysayers.
I bolt through the self-checkout, tossing the receipt in the garbage can neatly placed by the lane. I see the doors . . . “EXIT” never looked so sexy as it does when I lunge my body toward it — craving the air outside of the building.
I make it back to my car and I slide inside and crank that baby up and I breathe. I breathe and breathe and breathe and thank God I was successful. I got in and I got out.
And although, I only go to the grocery store if I’ve failed to get some items I needed or if I want a few more things and decline happily to paying the additional delivery fee for so few items. Otherwise, Instacart and Door Dash (Walgreens) are my friends.
I do these five things when I have to make a quick run to my local grocery store.
Keeping my distance.
I was never really big on having someone (I don’t know) very close to me pre-pandemic, so maintaining six feet is easy. Hell, I usually increase that distance by three to four feet.
There’s no need for anyone to get near me unless they’re trying to tell me something or get my attention, and even then, I am shooting them Mr. Burns’ twitchy eye stares if they break the lining of my bubble.
Avoiding areas that are heavily crowded.
And by “heavily crowded,” I mean two to three people. “Sure, I really need to get some more cucumbers, but I’ll avoid that for now. Thelma is thumping on and sniffing the bell peppers and Louise is sampling the grapes. Hard pass.”
Sanitizing my hands.
I work in healthcare. I’m almost certain I bleed alcohol by now. While working at the facility, I would go through bottles of hand sanitizer within a week or just under two. I’d also wash my hands until they were nearly raw.
Suffice to say, I spent my days screening patients for Coronavirus symptoms and came in contact with enough people who were positive to make me want to drink cleaning products. I won’t, though. I haven’t. But give me my hand sanitizer, please.
That is a pre-requisite, henceforth and forevermore.
Using my own shopping bags.
Let’s be real. The plastic most stores are using now has been recycled so many times. A bag of flour, two packs of gum, and a gallon of water will rip one up in a matter of seconds. For convenience and because I know where they have been, I use my own shopping bags. Thank you very much.
And I don’t mind bagging them myself.
Avoiding aisles when others are on them.
This is connected to the second point. I will wait to go down an aisle if over two people are on that aisle. I’ll circle over to another section of the store, get what I need from there, and come back. Usually, I’m successful.
Most times, they’ve gotten what they needed and I can swing on through and grab what I need. No harm, no foul. Keep it moving, folks!
You could be saying to yourself, “These seem extreme,” or “ Hey! I do a few of these too!” Many of these things do not differ from what I did pre-pandemic, they are just upgraded.
The key factor for me is safety. Grocery stores can be death traps and while I treat every day as an opportunity to extend the life I have, I am aware this life could end at any moment.
I’d just rather it not be by contracting a deadly virus while I was examining the expiration dates on my favorite brand of yogurt.