A WALK TO THE STORE 

 

Copyright 2002, 2015 by Jim Hull

(Please cite the author if you quote from this work)

 

I need a bar of soap. The one in the shower -- my last bar -- is a thin sliver. Washing with it is like painting a wall with a toothbrush.

My new digs are downtown; I' m only a few blocks from shops, restaurants, the post office. Hey! I'll just saunter over to the grocery store, pick up the soap, and cruise on back. It'll be my exercise for the day. Oh, and while I'm there I better pick up some milk and cereal.

It's off to the grocery store! Seven blocks, twelve minutes. Inside the store I find some bargains (Look! Three soups for a buck! Hey! Toilet paper on sale!) and start to load up. Pretty soon I've got sugar, apples, two gallons of milk, a half-dozen canned goods, a double-sized box of Raisin Bran (can't beat seven cents an ounce!), and a bunch of other stuff. It appears we're storing nuts for the winter, eh, Jim?

I cart my goodies to the checkout. Then it hits me: I have to walk all this stuff home! But I used to tote several bags at a time from car to house, so how hard can it be? I buy the groceries ("Paper or plastic?" "Plastic!" I'll need those little handles for the trek), and idly mention that I'll be walking. The bagger looks at me like I'm crazy. She says I can borrow a shopping cart. "Then you call the store and say, 'There's a cart on such-and-such a street.' People do it all the time!" But I demur. I want the exercise.

I steer the groceries to the store's property line, then carefully grasp several bags in each hand. I heft them: they're a bit weighty, but nothing to write home about. I begin my walk.

Three minutes later I stop to rearrange the bags. Better! Still, I'm breathing like a jogger and my arms are starting to talk back. How much poundage am I carrying, anyway? Let's see, a gallon of milk weighs... two cups is a pound... eight pounds. And I have two gallons. Then there's the bag of apples, and five pounds of sugar, and those half-dozen cans, and bananas, and Malt-O-Meal, and Raisin Bran, and... I must be hauling forty pounds! What the heck. I can do this.

It's hard to walk with all those bags bumping against my legs. I set them down a second time to rearrange them. Walking again, I can feel my old elbow injury starting to complain. I sure don't want to redamage that!

I pace myself, taking care not to overstrain my arms, resting every couple of blocks. Finally I reach my building, haul the bags up to my third-floor apartment, hustle them inside, and set them down on the kitchen floor. At last!

I put the groceries away. This entire operation has made me sweaty, so it's time for a shower. After all, I now have a nice new bar of...

Oh, dang.

I forgot the soap.


 

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