I was dreading my trip to the grocery stores today. I needed to hit Ralphs and Trader Joe’s to gather all provisions for Thanksgiving dinner. I normally don’t mind going to the grocery store, but this time of year can stress me out.
I made a point to put together a pretty concise and detailed grocery list while at work this morning, noting what I would get at each store. I even categorized items so as not to have it all run together, which would only result in me running back and forth at the stores.
I pulled into the lot with trepidation, glad to see the car in front of me heading straight down to the underground parking lot instead of left, where I needed to go. I cruised along and — wow — found a spot right by the door to Ralphs. It was a good sign.
Inside the store I didn’t know who was more stressed, customers or employees. It all seemed so chaotic. Taking a cue from my good parking karma, I smiled, took my time and even made small-talk with a few people that seemed to be taking things in the same stride as me.
As I was loading my Ralphs groceries into my car, I could see several cars lined up, and one looked to be waiting for my spot. I politely mouthed the words, “I need to go there, still,” pointing at Trader Joe’s. I could only imagine what she must have thought of me, but that was not my battle.
Trader Joe’s was just as much of a madhouse, but again, I practiced good crowd skills, maneuvering safely behind my grocery cart, “excuse me”-ing and smiling and wondering how many of these people were like me in that they enjoyed the concept of Thanksgiving and the prep work involved, more than the meal itself.
As I was perusing the cheese section, a woman on a mobility scooter accidentally backed into my cart. She was very apologetic, yet good-naturedly flustered, and I laughed as well, and said, “Are we having fun yet?” A few other people chuckled and nodded and we went on our way.
As I was loading Trader Joe’s groceries in my car I saw a somewhat frantic-looking woman in her car looking for a spot, and I pointed to my car and said I was leaving. Paying it forward. I hope I helped make her day.
Once home, there was the daunting task of putting everything away and finding a spot for a 15-pound bird in my fridge.
Tomorrow will be another busy day; a visit with my hospice patient, a vet appointment for two of our dogs, and a hair appointment for me. Busy, yes. Stressful, no; I will take the same attitude and move through my chaotic day with patience and gratitude, keeping in mind I have a nice 4-day weekend coming.
I really think the Prozac is doing its job.