It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving, and I’m grocery shopping. Pushing the cart through
throngs of people looking for that special can of yams, I wish I’d pinned a sign reading, “Don’t follow, Makes frequent stops,” to my rear, so people might stop running into me.
Surprisingly, most of the shoppers are in good moods. I hear the words, “Excuse me,” “After you,” over and over. Only the very young adults, shopping for holiday meal preparations for the first time, I presume, express out loud their bewilderment at the crowds. Suddenly, their attention to space and time is required. This means they have to get out of the way while text messaging, instead of stopping abruptly in the middle of an aisle where more seasoned shoppers will trample them.
In the produce section I pull a thin plastic bag from a dwindling roll of them to fill with Brussels sprouts. Another woman poises to do the same. I’m sure she’s a nurse, like me, although I will never know. Simultaneously, we pause at the large bin of loose sprouts, realizing we have to gather them with our bare hands, because there is not even a rudimentary tool for the task. We eye each other, smile, then I say, “Wow, how many pairs of dirty hands have been in this bin before mine?”
She laughs. “I know,” she says, “I’m thinking the same thing. I’m going to have to scrub these well, and remove the outer leaves.”
“Me too,” I say.
I’m sure she’s a nurse.
Happy Thanksgiving from JParadisiRN