I'm not much of a writer anymore, but here we go with a journal.
|I walked to the grocery store for the first time of the year. Grocery shopping always gets a lot more complicated for me in the winter, and this year more than ever.
Most of the year I'm able to bike and pack the groceries in baskets attached to the back, plus stray stuff in a backpack if necessary. But at some point the snow comes and doesn't want to go away, possibly until March or later.
Before I lived in Wisconsin, I used to think cities plowed the snow off their streets after a storm. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. I also used to think home and business owners removed the snow from their sidewalks and driveways. Hee hee hee.
What actually happens is the city sends a plow through the streets that mostly just runs over the snow and compacts it into a couple inches of ice, then spreads a little sand in a few random spots. This stuff gradually melts in the sun, over the course of weeks or months, but not much happens as long as the sky is overcast and/or the temps stay below twenty degrees. Car exhaust burns it off the busy streets, but I can't very well bike down the middle of those. Some people do bike all year, but I'm too chicken to swerve around on black ice. I've gone down on black ice in front of a car before, and that's not an experience I want to repeat. Plus I'm sixty-three, so falling on hard surfaces isn't great and is getting less great all the time.
So around this time every year, I grab the granny cart and walk the mile or so down to Woodman's. On the way there I can carry the granny cart over the unshoveled sidewalks and bumps of ice at the intersections, but on the way back I'm too loaded down to lift it over, so I just walk in the street. It's a busy enough street that a lot of ice is melted off, but I don't want to get hit by a car, so it's a lot of pulling the cart aside into snowdrifts when there's oncoming traffic.
This year everything's even more complicated. First because of social distancing on the sidewalk. Very few people here wear a mask outdoors. I don't either. It's not required, and it's not like there are big crowds walking around in winter, but there are a few people.
Second, I'm stuck with stores that are within walking distance there and back, because I'd just as soon stay away from the buses until the covid thing is over. Most years I can walk the nine miles to Trader Joe's and take the bus back, but hauling groceries another nine miles back home does not sound like my idea of fun, plus it would take a huge chunk out of the day.
And third, all the groceries have to go back in the shopping cart and rolled out into the parking lot to pack into the granny cart, because Woodman's still doesn't allow reusable grocery bags, even in the self-check lanes. Because they think somehow germs will waft off my shopping bags? It seems like if I were germy enough to have sick shopping bags, they'd be more likely to get sick from me than from a bag they don't even have to touch. But rules are rules, and I feel compelled to obey even stupid ones.
I keep having to remind myself that this whole covid mess will be over soon. The first vaccinations are here already for front-line healthcare workers, who if you ask me should also be getting a Nobel prize and Time persons of the year and, I don't know, all the lottery money or something.
Probably no vaccine for me anytime soon, though, as I'm in the lowest priority group.