When Life Gives You Lemons
Since my husband and I are both in the “65 and over category” (husband is way more over 65 than I am!), we have been complying with the requirement that “seniors” (who ME?) stay in our homes, except for grocery trips and medical appointments.
Last evening, we decided that we would make an early morning grocery run. Many of our stores have designated the first hour for “seniors” so we can shop – hopefully avoiding larger crowds.
We texted two “senior” neighbors to let them know we were venturing out in the morning and offering to pick up anything they might need. They both accepted and placed their orders.
Husband and I strategized about which shops we would go to. And in what order. And we debated about just how many safeguards we would take. Masks, no masks? Latex gloves? Sanitizing wipes? Gel sanitizer in case we accidentally touched our fact? Wear long sleeved, dirty-ish clothes that could go directly into the washing machine? Take our own re-useable grocery bags or pay for the disposable bags the store sells?
We negotiated who would go where once we were in the shop. Him to the eggs and butter; me to the ground beef and that ever-so elusive toilet paper. Me to fresh vegetables, him to the deli section, etc.
We planned what (and in what order) we needed to do once we were home again. Wipe down the car door handles and interior. Ditch the gloves. Shed the clothes. Wipe down all the products that could be wiped; the grocery bags inside and out; our phones; our own hands. Take half-hour sterilizing showers (just kidding).
This is the world in which we now live – and it is, quite frankly, exhausting.
The Plan in Action
As I tried to fall asleep and upon waking the following morning, I realized I was preparing myself, emotionally, for what was to come. Not only encountering all the those “seniors” who are, in fact, more senior than we are, but also for the very real possibility that the shelves would be bare. I already knew that would make me cry – not because the shelves were empty. But because that might be our new reality for some time to come – and what that meant for so many people, less fortunate than we are.
We donned the agreed-on protective gear and hit our first store. He headed for the eggs and I went for the ground beef, which they didn’t have. I grabbed the fresh veg and went in search of the toilet paper, which, predictably, was nowhere to be found.
I hunted for husband and saw him heading toward the eggs – with and I kid you not – SIX bottles of wine! Ever mindful of the downside of arguing in public, I hissed “that is NOT a dozen eggs and definitely NOT on our list”. He laughed and said true, but in a pinch it could serve as a very expensive disinfectant. Sigh.
Lemonade Moments 1 +2
It was then I had my first “lemonade” moment (hence the post title). I finally noticed that the shelves were NOT bare – with the exception of the aforementioned TP/PT aisle and the ground beef. It was oddly comforting to see that the shelves were, for the most part, full. Since the store wasn’t overly busy, we wandered up and down the aisles to see if there was anything else we could get for the pantry.
Lemonade moment number two was when I realized that there were more than the usual number of store staff on the floor – and they were approaching each of those “older” seniors and volunteering to push their carts and help them shop. So, while I didn’t cry because the shelves were empty, I did cry with the realization that people were helping people. It was a beautiful, two tissue kind of cry.
We hit the second store, which didn’t open for another 20 minutes or so. All of us “60 and older” types lined up patiently – obediently 6 feet apart. When the store opened, a staffer said that if we didn’t look 60, we would be carded. I (jokingly) reached for my wallet and begged to be carded, causing nearby seniors and the staffers to laugh. But I secretly wished that staffer had humored me. Lol.
Lemonade Moment 3
I got my ground beef and our neighbors’ items and as we headed towards the checkout counter, I noticed that these store staffers were also smiling and helpful. And the customers were smiling, too. No one seemed panicked or irritable. We exchanged nods that seemed to acknoweldge that we were all living though the same very odd and unexpected circumstances.
Lemonade Moment 4
We stopped at our neighbors’ homes to deliver their booty. You know the drill? Ring the doorbell, leave the package on the doorstep – and then run. Both the neighbors ventured out to say “hi.” We commented on how eery it was to see so few cars on the road and that it seems we’re living in an old “Twilight Zone” episode. Commiserating over not being able to be with our grandchildren, one of them said “On the other hand, I haven’t put my bra on – or worn anything but sweats for a week.!” Now that’s lemonade!
There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. We will control all that you see and hear. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to the outer limits.
Ladies lose the bra and put on those sweats! But hang on to your hat – it might be a bumpy ride.
Ok. Ok. I’m done. Behave as if you have the virus and don’t want to infect others. Please.