In seventh grade, my family watched Stephen King’s Storm of the Century on television together. It was a three-week (or something) series, and I wasn’t allowed to watch the finale. I was being punished but can’t remember why.
The meteorologists are pretty much telling me that, by the end of the week, it’s not going to matter that I didn’t see the end of that horror series when I was thirteen; I’m going to live it myself. I don’t really believe them, and I think they can sense the doubt; sometimes they say that the computer’s precipitation predictions are too high.
They are giddy on the six o’clock news, and I think to be a meteorologist would be to live a stressful life. Thank goodness I am not interested in meteorology or being on television.
Anyways, before I even knew about the weather pattern headed my way, I (obviously) had plans to go to the grocery today. Maybe someday when I’m not free on Monday afternoons I’ll spend Sundays planning my weekly meals and buying items I write neatly on a list, or maybe not.
As usual, I walked into Trader Joe’s with nothing (besides the basics) but empty bags (because I’m so environmentally conscious). I noticed before I even entered that it was abnormally crowded for a Monday afternoon pre-post-work, but I didn’t think anything of it. I walked in, stared at a guy wearing a very interesting combination of clothing that I can no longer recall, and, as always, made my way to the produce section (shop the perimeter, they always say).
But there was hardly any food left.
Chaotic energy filled the store. Employees were restocking the potatoes like athletes in training; shoppers were frantically searching for those last two items on their lists, not wanting to face the reality that those items were no longer in stock; little girls were spilling entire bags of dried strawberries in the freezer aisle; several pairs of people were actually speaking to each other in foreign languages so that others wouldn’t know what they wanted to place in their carts next. Some people had defensive conversations in the checkout line; “I am not at all worried about or stocking up for the storm; I always shop on Mondays.”
I couldn’t help but react.
If I was going to be trapped for days, I needed to buy fennel and baby bok choy. I needed naan and my brother would certainly need some frozen pizzas in case I ate all the turkey wontons.
I didn’t need any pasta or tomato sauce, but, everyone else seemed to need it. I lost control and questioned myself. I almost fought a woman for the last jar of Bolognese. When in my life have I ever bought a jar of sauce with meat in it? The answer is never, but I began to think that maybe the snow storm will bury us in our second-story apartment for weeks. I began to think that maybe we will lose electricity; the contents of our freezer will rot. We are going to need a jar of meat to keep warm.
Then, I wondered if the gas will shut off as well; I’ve never lived in a city apartment during a blizzard and don’t know anything about what I should worry about. I decided the gas will not shut off; we will still be able to cook. In the worst of all cases, we can always depend on our fireplace and stash of wood.
I remembered that it will be freezing outside. I was thankful for that old cooler; I will probably need it to store my perishables on the roof. I don’t know what to do about the refrigerate-only items. Maybe my bedroom will be the right temperature? I still had time to think.
I began to come back to reality.
I let the woman and her small child have the jar of Bolognese, bought three bottles of wine, and decided to disregard the last three items on my mental list.
I went home, unpacked my groceries, and went to yoga.
The studio was completely full. One day (maybe last week, hopefully not next week), I would have been stressed by the two inches separating my mat from the next. One day, I would have thought too much about what I was breathing, what the girl next to me was noticing. One day, I would have internally rolled my eyes at the yogi who talked after class about how she could really feel everyone’s energy in the crowded class.
Tonight, though, I went with it. And, blizzard or no blizzard, every dinner this week will check some sort of first of an unwritten list of things for me to do. I’m all about that energy right now.