I have always been a person who liked order.
Even as a child I used to line things up and want a place for everything and everything in its place. This partially came from being the youngest in the family by quite a bit. Turns out we also have a decent strain of OCD which runs in our family.
So, I grew up loving routine, order, reliable patterns, schedules, and plans. It was, no doubt, part of what made me viewed pretty much as a nerd in junior high and high school. That and the fact that I related more with the teachers than most of the students. I actually would write your name down if you talked while the teacher was out of the room if requested to do so by the teacher. Strangely, I never got threatened with violence by any of the other students.
The virus has caused massive disruption for the world, of course. My desire to have my days carefully plotted out has grown now in order to maintain some sense of control. The fact that my OCD has increased as I have become, as the French so elegantly say, a woman of a certain age, means we now have a weekly menu posted on the refrigerator, specific chores to be done on specific days in my spiral planner, and dinner at lunch time to aid digestion, before bed, of our largest meal in an era of less exercise, trips to the fridge for snacks not actually counting as exercise.
I have discovered that grocery shopping is not only a good way to spend money on something one actually needs and avoid the siren song of online shopping for things that just wander across your path and inspire you to pull out that credit card — I have bought a new garden fountain this week — but it now requires some logic and planning, two things I like.
In normal times, like many older couples, we used grocery shopping as part of our social interaction. Because we are daily Y visitors and the grocery shops are mostly close by, before the virus hit us we would rarely plan meals for more than a couple of days. Going to the store took no more gas and we could run into people, chat, there was virtually no chance we would not know someone else shopping that day.
Now, we do pick-up and only get to people watch and critique people’s wardrobes from the car. Flip flops in April, people? And before you have had a pedicure, really? Since the pandemic the pick-up has become a chess game. First you have to figure out when you are going to need things, especially fresh produce because unlike PPT ( pre-pandemic times) you may have to wait three days or more to pick up your grub.
So you have to start a cart at least three days before you actually need the food. Then you have to modify it when you remember what you forgot in the first place, which you can only do until midnight of the day before your pick-up slot. So the pressure is on. Did you remember to add bananas? Yikes, the clock is ticking and your husband is shouting things from the living room to add.
As a result I have become the Metis of grocery shopping. Strategies, lists, digital coupon clipping, substitutions for things they do not currently have, etc. It is good to have a new hobby. Hopefully my new involvement with food acquisition will not mean I will not fit in my bathing suits for water Zumba once this nasty illness has been conquered and we can get back to what will be our new normal no doubt.
Cookie Newsom is a Greene County resident and guest columnist.