happened yesterday at the store.
You know that whoever you start out with in produce is who you will travel with throughout the aisles all the way until cheese and yogurt. Sometimes after a couple of rounds, usually around crackers and cereal, after witnessing the travel habits of my fellow cart pushers, I will reverse direction. Just to get out of the cycle. Literally.
Yesterday I was in route with an elderly woman and a middle aged woman. The second woman might have been the first's daughter or daughter-in-law. From the conversation they were having, from evidence of the first woman's arm being in a sling, I pictured that perhaps reduced circumstances of living had come upon the first woman.
There was a great deal of negotiating about what could be purchased, whether or not the elderly woman would eat it, the need for small steps of lifestyle change. The first woman's face showed sorrow and frustration. The second woman's manner illustrated frustration and fatigue. Facing some of my own small steps of lifestyle change and fatigue, I left the cycle. I didn't want to hear anymore that life changes are not always pleasant, but we must soldier on.
I skipped to the yogurt. But while there I realized I had forgotten the bread. I remembered the hamburger buns but had forgotten the bread. Back I go only to pass these two in front of the peanut butter debating a creamy brand that would not be too dry, that would taste good, that was not too expensive. To the bread, I told myself, stay out of it.
One pass, two passes, and dagnabbit, I had forgotten to check a price on some trail mix which happens to be across from.....the peanut butter. Where still the conversation, reaching argument status, went on about a suitable peanut butter.
"I'm sorry, but I overheard that the two of you are trying to find a creamy peanut butter that is not too dry and tastes good? May I recommend ________?"
Relief flooded through all of us. Them because an objective third party had an opinion that took them out of the cycle. Relief through me because now if there was blame for a wrong choice, it would not rest between them, but on me, an intervening stranger with a fixed opinion regarding creamy peanut butter.
Into the cart the choice went, the selection made, and now at least that part of the cycle was over. I passed these two a few more times before the shopping trip was over. Weary we all are at how our lives are playing out, but perhaps when that sandwich is made, when the peanut butter is spread, relief will occur again. Even if only for the eating of peanut butter.