Shopping for groceries is an entirely different, and somewhat weird, experience these days. I still have a list of things I need for this meal or that household chore, but these days I have to also be on the lookout for things that are vanishing from the shelves at an alarming rate and never (or so it seems) replenished.
Because the stores around us were slow to place limits on how much any one person could buy at one time, we have a permanent toilet paper crisis here in upstate New York. Just a week ago, I walked by fully stacked shelves of flour, and now they are gone baby, GONE! Pasta, butter, frozen vegetables…same story.
So, these days, I shop with an eye for what seems to be vanishing, rather than what I just need at the moment. Case in point, mayonnaise. There were two solitary jars left yesterday, sitting unhappily on opposite ends of an otherwise empty shelf. Back in my short lived Martha Stewart phase, I used to make my own mayo, and perhaps some day soon I shall have to do that again. Yesterday, both jars made it into my cart, just in case mayo would go the way of toilet paper and flour.
The silver lining here, is that grocery shopping has become a community affair these days. A group of us text each other if we happen to be heading out to the store, and so we are able to help each other out even as we try to maintain social distancing in the time of COVID19. So, I was able to get Ann the parsnips and onions she needed for her stew, and Socrates (yes, that really is his name) the egg whites he’d requested. I returned home having dropped these items off on front porches, to find the two leaves of bread I’d asked Kelly to pick up on her run to the bakery in Vermont. Something about this circle of being connected and collaborating over the mundane but necessary task of keeping ourselves supplied, feels good…feels right.