Grocery Has No Place for the Weak

March 16th, 2009 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

A wave of maturity washed over me yesterday. It will surely pass, but I’ll enjoy the accompanying equanimity for the moment.

In my pathetic but relentless expansion of leg use, I push what I can do with my comminuted fibula and titanium-rod filled tibia. The symbol of feebleness, my walker, is folded and hidden. I go as I can on crutches until fatigue and discomfort park me on a chair or bench.

Yesterday, I was back at the gym using the one aerobic machine I can, the SciFit Pro1000 upper body exerciser. It’s sort of a hand cranked bicycle, with no wheels. I sit and operate the hand levers. While I could set it to a weight-lifting mode, I am using some of the hill programs, which elevate my heart rate, take a lot of power to use, and even make me sweat.

crutchesAs the company so graciously puts it, this series of products is “for complete workouts by elite athletes or severely deconditioned users.” So, I’m not a gimp trying to walk, I’m deconditioned. There may be a time in a month or so when I can get in the pool and at the least drag some laps. Right now my fibular shards and the two-piece tibia don’t allow a push off and besides, I could not get into and out of the pool yet. Meanwhile, it’s a minor thrill to be using my body a bit.

As part of my lowered but not extinguished aspirations, I push a little here and there. I still can’t tool around the neighborhood, but I am not immobile. Yesterday after the gym, my uxorial unit and I went a grocery on the way home. I did not accept sitting in the van and thumped in. While she shopped for a wee cart of things, I tried to feign that I too could look for comestibles. I had no way to carry them, but I walked with my head high anyway.

We went to the West Roxbury Roche Brothers. It is locally famous for its regular coverage on Universal Hub. Moreover, videoblogger Steve Garfield hyperlocalizes this particular store. It is somewhere between a large green grocer and a giant supermarket. If some of the clerks were any more Irish, they couldn’t even understand each other. Shoppers call out to each other and employees.

So, while Cindy was wheeling around snagging yogurt and such, I was exercising and trying a bit of confidence building on my own. That didn’t work out too well.

grocery cart

I am definitely less hurried than I was five weeks ago on the day of the big break. I was surprised to find that I mellowed a little, wet with that wave of (at least temporary) maturity. I found a series of folk, largely 30-something and 40-something women charging directly at or rushing inches in front of the big old guy on crutches.

I quickly saw that either:

  • They didn’t have good upbringing or
  • They weren’t in the moment (as Sherlock Holmes would have said, “You see, but you do not observe”) or
  • They didn’t have enough brain power to process other humanoids while they chase a particular food stuff

Two different husband units following these careering shoppers quietly apologized to me when their wives either caused me to rock back on my crutches or literally brushed into me. They apparently were used to seeing a focused grocery hunter in action.

I quickly realized that I normally would have thought evil of these women. Yet perhaps because of my relaxed and reduced pace, I found them amusing.

Very short people at the gym had already conditioned me a bit. Hobbling from the workout area to the main exit generally meant passing by lines (or more accurately line-like clumps) of five to nine-year-olds. Some haven’t learned to be aware of or considerate of others and some are just chatting away being little kids.

A parallel between those Roche shoppers and the Y kids is that they seem used to adults accommodating them. While I grew up in a time and in places where we held doors for each other and no child would ever think of pushing an adult aside to get to the door first, that is not here and now.

I do enjoy the simple, warming grace of consideration. Beyond being attentive to the elderly or disabled, making minor moves for even big guys laden with packages is just plain nice…and it’s nearly free, with only the cost of a few seconds lost.

The middle-aged women in Roche Brothers surely were not being malicious. Had they thought about it, they likely would not have threatened the guy on crutches. The point is that they didn’t think of it and likely won’t the next time or times.

These are the same folk who push their carts at other people, parking willy-nilly on any side or even in the the aisle middle. They are busy, not thinking about it and reflecting their family culture.

I hope I can retain my humor and calmness about such interactions. They are so common that moving them from annoyance to amusement could be a real stress reducer.

I think I’ll stay emotionally ready for my next grocery visit.

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One Response

  1. Uncle says:

    When you reach the cane stage, there you’ll be with licence to k…well, just trip up the rude and thoughtless, followed by an ingenuous apology. Heehee.

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