As many of you know, my household has been on a pretty tight lockdown since March of 2021. We shifted from going grocery shopping and well, shopping in general, from in-person to either delivery or curbside pick up during the initial state mandated lockdown, and we have just stayed in that mode for more than a year. It was a big adjustment, and if you’ve read my prior blogs, Online Grocery Shopping is not the Same or When Things Open, you know that I have really missed going into grocery stores and picking out my own food. I have dreamed about wandering the meat department of my favorite grocers. I have longed to go back to my favorite Asian markets.
Well, with the introduction on vaccines, and now that we are personally all vaccinated up, I can go back. So, why wasn’t I more eager to do so? We call it anxiety normally, but I think the level Covid created should probably get its own chapter in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Okay, maybe it would fit in the PTSD category. NPR did a whole story on how people are having trouble breaking some of the habits we developed early in the pandemic now that there is more science and we know (or they think they know) that some of those things aren’t necessary to prevent transmission. Do you still wash your groceries? I’m trying not to, but honestly, I only started trying to relax this after I was fully vaccinated. I’ve also stopped quarantining everything that comes into my house for three days. It’s a hard adjustment. And I still cross the street if there are people coming toward me without a mask. I’ve managed to walk within a few feet of other masked individuals.
So I did finally go into a grocery store. It was just Aldi. I haven’t brought myself to go into any of my favorite local stores. I wanted to maybe not have an anxiety attack in one of my favorite places, so I thought Aldi was a good start. It’s small. I also went on a weekday morning, right after they opened, when it is slow. There were maybe six others in the store. Granted, most of them weren’t really bothering to observe social distancing while shopping, but everyone was wearing a mask. It did help that the design of Aldi’s floorplan almost creates a mandated one-way path. We were in the store less than thirty minutes, including check-out time. But I just couldn’t help but go down every aisle and look at everything. And yes, I bought stuff I probably don’t really need. I was a little stressed about not having made a list and taking the “get in and out as fast as you can” approach. But the food lover in me just really wanted to shop for groceries almost like there isn’t a pandemic. I gave in to that side a little.
But I did stick to some precautions, of course. Obviously, we wore masks. In fact, we wore two, one paper and one cloth. And I took wipes and hand sanitizer. And I still followed the rule that if I touched it, it was going in the cart, so don’t pick up anything you don’t know you want. I know. I’m pretty sure I don’t have Covid to pass along since I am now fully vaccinated, and I had a Covid test done recently that came back negative. But I just feel like that rule may stay with me for a while. I’ve always been a bit of a germaphobe. Covid has just heighted that particular quality. And yes, I’m aware that there have been no confirmed cases where Covid was picked up from touching stuff in the grocery store. But I can only work on loosening a few things at a time, and right now, I’m focused on my ability to go into places and my ability not to run from every person I see like one of the characters in Walking Dead avoiding the zombies. That’s what I can do for now.
I’m still working myself up to my favorite Asian markets, as they can get very crowded and some of them have very small floor plans. However, I am trying to figure out when I can go to some of my favorite local groceries that have the best meat supplies. That freezer isn’t going to restock itself, and it will be so amazing to get to pick out my own pork shoulder or chuck roast again. I know. I’m an odd duck.