Initially there were a handful of items. Staples really. Paper towels, tp, napkins, toothpaste, laundry detergent, deodorant and 3 lemons. As the pandemic continued on, the list grew. No longer on a scrap of paper, but now on the back of a used envelope.

In addition to the “regularly scheduled” items, several more were added. A case of soda, some milk, cereal, eggs, tea bags, licorice and several types of refrigerated soups. 

Ten days ago, the list was even longer and required a full page of printer paper.  Today, the list was one page, but with very tiny printing…Searching aisle after aisle, wearing two masks, a paper one and one given to me by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, purple latex-free gloves given to me by my sister, a long coat, a hat and prescription glasses, a pair of black Uggs, I wait on line at the deli counter. 

Referring to the list, I am to purchase 1 pound of white American cheese, sliced thin and 1/2 pound of low-sodium ham. ( I secretly questioned the value of the “low sodium” given the rest of the items on the list.) This was the first time during the pandemic that I was at a deli counter. It seems so surreal with the three customers and me standing at least 10 feet apart. I looked over at the  ticket counter and realized I needed a number. A big guy in a lumberjack type coat was right in front of the ticket machine. Why would anyone stand right there? I mean everyone will have to get up there to be waited on, no? 

Wasting at least 10 minutes until lumberjackman finally moved, I ripped off my ticket with my sweaty purple gloved hand. I refer back to the list and notice a large number of items that are clearly not on any weight loss plan.  Processed, packaged, salted, chemicals added, sugar here, sugar there. What should I do? Come back without the requested items? Replace them with healthy choices? Let’s face it, there would be no healthy substitutes for “Ding Dongs” or  “Ho-Ho-s”. None that I know of. Enlighten me. 

The cart is so heavy now and hard to push. Around every corner, I expect to see someone from The Heart Association or the Diabetes Foundation. I am literally sweating now with all the garb on as the Tasty pies are flying around in the cart-all 12 of them. Yes, they are on the list.

By the time I get to the frozen food aisle, I am seriously thinking of phoning a friend or asking for a “life line”. I think I will need a second cart. There are 10 frozen items on the list, and that is with eliminating Newman’s Pizza! Will that omission go unnoticed? Can I manage with two carts?  What to do??? A memory enters my overworked brain.  

I remember when I was flying through Madrid for work, onroute to a totally cool site inspection of Taormina, Italy . I had two carryon suitcases on wheels. Not sure how I passed though security, but I digress-as you may have come to expect from me. 

Still in Madrid, I am on the moving platform that is going straight up and I am holding on to the two wheelie bags for dear life. Did I mention I am in stilettos? Speechless…Unable to hold the handrails, I lean as far forward as I can without releasing the bags. My upper body   is at a 90 degree angle. One slip and someone behind me is going down. Did I mention the valise was a Louis Vuitton? By the time I get to the top of the moving platform, my heart is racing and I am shaking and sweating. Note to self-only one carryon bag-with wheels. 

Unfortunately, another major digression, I ended up having to check one of the bags at the gate, yes, the LV. It was returned to me 5 days later with the handle broken off and the bag cut open. Person or persons “unknown”, according to local police, stole most of my valuables from the carryon, including the Dior jeweled sunglasses and the Judith Leiber eyeglasses. Pulse racing! Note to self-never waste money on a designer suitcase. 

At least they left me my blood pressure medicine! 

Now, back to shopping in the Acme-a very far cry from Madrid.  As I return to the paper products aisle to get napkins, I struggle to push the cart. Is one wheel loose now? 

How the #$%@ am I going to fit the family pack of napkins? Suddenly, I see it. The “ty”display. I notice the two multi-colored fuzzy dogs with party hats looking my way. I  just start to laugh. “Why So Serious?” ( The famous line from “The Joker” in “The Dark Night”)

Yes, I need to lighten up. I look back at the list and sigh with glee that all the items have been crossed off. As I unload the cart and fill up the conveyor belt with a potpourri of poison, I think of some witty excuses to give the clerk, starting off with “these items are for someone else. I was just given a list…”. I decide to say nothing and start bagging. I find I am emotionally exhausted. A Ding-dong actually sounds good about now:). 

Without judgement and with love. Maybe it’s a designer carryon filled with materialistic labels that a pandemic makes you realize you never needed and were a waste of $.  Or, maybe it’s a shopping cart filled with food choices that are mostly about convenience. It’s best to focus on our own list while being supportive to others about what to place in their cart. 

Permission to write and share given by the one and only “Sweettooth”.