Last night I had a dream. I was standing in the canned goods aisle at ShopRite and there were only a few scattered cans on the otherwise empty shelves. I had missed the Can Can Sale.
Obviously, I could use a little more excitement in my life if this is what my subconscious mind is worrying about.
I think I know why I had this dream. I went to ShopRite at an off hour, at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The difference from shopping at 10 a.m., on any day, was stunning. The people there were younger than me, not older. The music wasn’t the Beach Boys. Teenagers with a live sense of humor were working the registers. There were men in suits. No one bumped me with their cart in the narrow aisles and failed to apologize.
Let me back track here. I hate this store. I haven’t shopped there regularly in years. I’ll gladly drive to any nearby town to escape the narrow aisles, long lines and aggressive social climate. Shopping there requires me to constantly check my back. Any second someone might tackle me for the last box of Oreos, leaving me face down on the floor. It’s being on the floor that is most terrifying.
I would rather pay more and eat less than deal with ShopRite. I’m a grocery store snob. It’s my mother’s fault, but that’s a story for another time.
To be truthful, I only went to the Can Can Sale once, for four boxes of cereal for four dollars. Obviously, that was worth the risk.
So back to the story: it was a more positive experience to be there in the evening. I might, if it’s convenient, go there again.
Let me backtrack, again. Nine years ago when we moved to this town, my tiny (4’11” with the wind in her hair) but sassy little grandmother came to live with us. She loved ShopRite for the deals, the donuts and best of all, the approval to drive a motorized cart. She walked just fine, but in her 85 years she never bothered to get a driver’s license, so this was a special thrill. And man, did she play it.
And that was how we spent many afternoons, with Grandma chasing me around ShopRite in her cart. Sometimes, she’d sneak up on me slowly, take her cane and poke me in the back and giggle. “Oh, come on, I’m an old lady, let me have some fun!” She would frequently bump into people in the crowded store and she knocked down many displays, saying “Oh my, was that my fault?” Rather than get up out of her seat, she would use her cane to knock items off higher shelves and try to catch them in the cart’s front basket. If she missed, she’d call to me, “Hey, pick that up for me, would you?”
When the shopping was complete, she would drive herself out in front of the store and wait for me to get my bags and the Adventurer (then age 3) into the car and come pick her up. When I pulled up, she would bicker with me. “Well, you took long enough. I thought you were leaving me here! Get my step stool so I can get in the car.” So I would get a little plastic step stool out of the back and hoist her into the front seat of our Land Rover, (she got out by sliding carefully, as if dismounting a horse). She would chat pleasantly all the way home about the joys of ShopRite, the pretty trees in town and our new puppy who probably trashed the house in our absence.
We did this every week, until she discovered that as a resident of this little Connecticut town, she was entitled to ride the Senior Bus just about anywhere she wanted. She no longer needed me to drive her around. “They have stairs to get on the bus that are good for people like me,” she told me. “Not like your car.”
I couldn’t resist. “People like you? You mean the remaining members of the Lollipop Guild?”
She nudged me with her cane, laughing.
Anyway, I think my dream has three possible meanings:
- I need to give ShopRite another chance and get to the Can Can Sale early.
- We need a farmer’s market here, because canned veggies are not sufficient.
- There is a gaping, empty shelf in my life. I miss my grandmother’s company grocery shopping and everywhere.
Yeah, it’s number 3.
In loving memory of Madeline Rose. 10/25/1917 – 6/26/2007