Grocery Line

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by

I was rushing in the wegmans line, trying to get all of my stuff up on the belt, wondering why the older woman behind me was looking at me funny. Was it because she had just a few items, and I was unloading a full cart? I quickly looked to make sure I hadn’t accidentally gone to a 15 items or less line.

No, I hadn’t! In fact I had followed a Wegman’s worker’s invitation to this line!

“Excuse me, ma’am?” She finally asked and I turned around.

“That mask looks so comfortable. Where did you get it?”

First I had to feel my mask… I don’t know why, since I get all of my KN95 masks from Amazon.

“Oh! These? I just ordered these from Amazon, actually!”

She shook her head with obvious disappointment. “Oh. I don’t get anything from amazon. I refuse to order from them.”

I found myself explaining to her that I too, don’t like Amazon. “I know I should stop ordering from amazon too!” I said. “It’s on my list! I promise!”

She looked at me, with kind but slightly judgemental, or maybe pitying eyes.

“Well, I know. I know. You stay healthy, okay?”

I told her thanks, and “you too,” and noticed her stack of cloth grocery bags in her cart.

And then I paid for my groceries, and pushed my cart to my car, feeling guilty about amazon, and the plastic bags my groceries were in.

I wondered for a moment if I should go back and explain that I reuse my grocery bags and that I’m trying my best during a really hard chapter of life.

But I kept pushing my cart, just wondering if I’ll ever be as good as that older lady at Wegmans.

7 thoughts on “Grocery Line

  1. The older woman is at a far different stage in her life. Her challenges are nothing like those you face every day. It is possible that refusing to use Amazon and remembering to bring cloth bags are some of the ways she finds to make sense of this chaotic and sometimes lonely life.
    The first statement she made was to admire your mask. She was observing you though the filter of her own needs and insecurities. We can’t know what those are. Like you, she struggles to do her best and very likely, she often feels like she fails.
    While she was clearly appraising you please don’t feel the weight of her judgement. You certainly don’t deserve it. Besides, for all you know this is the first time this month that she remembered to bring her cloth bags. She is probably doing the best she can, just like you.
    Remember always that the weight of judgement you feel is always coming from within. At this point, every day you get though is a triumph of spirit and sheer will.
    All of this, and you still remember to share this beautiful “Slice of Life”.
    You are remarkable, plastic bags and all.

    1. Yes – absolutely! She was super nice, and I don’t think she thought badly about me. Actually, in reflection, I thought a lot about how cool it was that she spoke out about amazon . . . because she’s right about it! LOL. thank you for these kinds, kind, kind words about my triumphant days. 🙂 ❤️

  2. I’ll just say it: I want the link to those masks, please. I’m not too proud to order from Amazon, and I wonder if that woman shops at Walmart, the brick and mortar version of Amazon. One of the things I’ve realized from the climate lit I’ve been reading is corporations want individuals to feel guilty about climate change, and they want individuals to think our individual actions can solve the problem. They do this to abdicate their responsibility. What individuals do has little impact compared to the actions of corporations. Some recycling is even worse for the environment than choosing items not produced from recycled materials. I’m all for choosing recycled bags, but we sometimes need the single-use plastic for the cat litter boxes, and all those reusable bags create yet another environmental problem. I read an article about this somewhere. All this is to say, give yourself a break and geezers (like me) who sit in judgment an upraised middle finger, metaphorically speaking, of course!

    1. Just seeing this comment for some reason! We have gotten these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/buyagain/ref=pd_gwd_bag_pd_gw_rp?ie=UTF8&ats=eyJleHBsaWNpdENhbmRpZGF0ZXMiOiJCMDBNSjdWTDFPLEIwN040QkhZTFcsQjAwM0FLSUdGUyxCMDc3MVJaNVNTIiwiY3VzdG9tZXJJZCI6IkEyUjdRWVVWSTNIUUtFIn0%3D&pd_rd_w=7Pgpv&pf_rd_p=adacc86f-12ce-4ce2-aa95-39ccabe90451&pf_rd_r=MCHBP25NHGAZ02AEXQ5E&pd_rd_r=ad8fcede-8a7b-479c-9a95-06d93e415ce9&pd_rd_wg=Qt1D3

      and I think I was wearing one of these when she asked about it.

      Also- I hear you – there is this blame game from corporations it seems … individuals can’t solve this all by ourselves. . . we can help… but … Also – that’s what I use my grocery bags for too!

  3. Sometimes we can feel badly about ourselves when others have an innocent conversation with us. As you recognized, she wasn’t being judgy. However, you’re in a place right now that heightens your reactions when conversations like this happen. (I’ve been there. I truly understand.)
    Every one of us is doing the best we can. You just keep doing what you have to do so that you can stay present while moving foward.

  4. I can’t help but think that life is a series of choices for us, of hypocrisies large and small. Even the woman in front of you, with her cloth bags and disdain for Amazon, has something, somewhere in that rummage drawer of life that, if she picks it up and inspects it in the light, she would feel that same pit in the stomach that you did upon being judged. I just have the sense it’s part of being human, with all of the compromises we make just to keep ourselves sane throughout the chaos of the world…

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