(Seconds anyone? From around this time in 2012…)
It’s the end of a busy day. You feel like you got the work done that you wanted. You feel free. It’s nice outside; balmy. You’ll take a walk. Actually, since you need a few things at the store, you’ll combine your exercise with your errand by walking. It’s the perfect night for it. It’s genius.
You grab a couple of empty grocery bags because you’re all environmentally conscious like that and don’t want to take up unnecessary plastic bags from the store (you also only flush on the second pee when you’re home alone — your secret — because you think you’re giving the earth an extra drink of water, which might leave a few gallons in a stream somewhere, just long enough to hydrate a gazelle, and to grow a dark ring of mold in your toilet bowl).
You walk the 20-25 minutes to the store listening to This American Life on your iPod, cutting through the streets of your neighborhood as the sun goes down. You notice how dingy some of your neighbors’ windows look, and judge their yard art.
“WTF with the blue glass gazing balls? Weirdos.”
You pass the fire station and are disturbed by the fact that every time you walk by, no matter what time of day, you never see a single firefighter using the gym equipment. You make a mental note to check the batteries in your smoke alarms. And buy an emergency ladder.
As you do when you’re on foot, you notice how fast people drive and are glad you’re only carrying empty grocery bags and not pulling a baby in a Radio Flyer.
Traffic picks up as you approach the intersection in front of the grocery store. As you wait at the crosswalk, you gaze at the lights and feel refreshed that you are out, moving your body, getting the blood pumping while also making good use of your time by running an errand, and saving on gas you crunchy earth muffin, you.
“Better than watching mind-numbing shit TV shows,” you think, TV shows you will watch the next day on Hulu.
The hip urban store is bustling. People are gathering and eating in its various corners, others are perusing the aisles, filling their carts. A familiar song plays overhead and you’re inspired.
“Give to me your leather, take from me, my lace,” sings Stevie, and you think, “Yes! I will get these brussel sprouts,” even though they weren’t on your list.
You see someone you know across the way in Fish. He’s on his Bluetooth. You don’t feel like talking and turn away before he sees you.
You wander to the dairy section in order to buy some non-dairy, some fake cheese. Looks suspect but since you’re over 40 now and are basically falling apart, you want to try alternatives, maybe add a year to your life. Through the digestion of fake cheese. You have high hopes.
You hear the person you know on your heels, still talking on the Bluetooth. You turn away again and he walks past, yammering.
You grab a small bottle of olive oil. And some natural organic tortilla chips because you can afford some salty fried chips now that you’re eating fake cheese. And since they’re organic they’re probably good for you.
You add some soup to your bag, which makes it heavy. “You have a long walk ahead of you,” you think. “Better wrap it up.”
You make your way to the register. Amazingly, the person you know passes by you a third time, still talking on the Bluetooth, not a single grocery product in his hand. Incredibly, he still doesn’t see you. You chuckle to yourself and shake your head as you reach for Amy’s organic frozen burritos, two for $5.
You walk up to the register. Put the plastic separator dealio on the belt and lay out all of your goods. When you’re done, you proudly put your grocery bags on top in a demonstrative display of environmental consciousness, as if to say, “Brought my own bags, people! Superiorly less wasteful, that’s me!”
And then it hits you: your wallet with your cash and debit and credit cards are sitting on the chair by the front door of your apartment, a 25-minute walk in the dark away.
On the walk home, empty grocery bags under your arm, you think about how those groceries would have been too heavy to carry, and how that fake cheese probably tastes like the tongue of your tennis shoes, or crap. And that it’s all probably for the best.