by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
think I need to find a small, family operated grocery store to use. I think that
I have had enough of the huge, mega, everything-from-bananas-to-ammunition type
of store. It makes shopping for groceries too confusing. I go in for some pork
chops and Drain-O and end up with a riding lawn mower and four yards of purple
corduroy. It was better when my girls were still home. They always came to the
store with me and that was so nice. Such a relief for me, though it must have
been a chore for them. "Swiss Steak sounds nice. Yes, those are pretty tomatoes.
No, I think we have plenty of milk. Mom! Look at me! Focus! You do not need a
new fly rod. The last time you went fishing was 1978. It is time to leave now.
Take some slow breaths and letís head for the cashier." They are so good. Such
smart girls. But where are they now?|
Living their own lives, thatís where.
I have too much pride to call either one of them up and say, "Baby, I need to
go shopping soon. Are you free on Wednesday?" I wonít do it. I tried to solve
the problem by making the boys come with me. Big mistake. We were there for exactly
17 minutes before they began to slip into a boredom induced coma and we came out
of the store with four boxes of snack cakes, a case of noodle soup, some pipe
dope (no Ė itís legal, I checked), and a hacksaw. That should hold us. Whatís
for supper? Plumbing supplies and guppy food. Again?!?
Maybe I have some
type of attention deficit problem Ė without the frequently associated hyperactivity
issues. Believe me, hyperactivity is not an problem I have had to deal with. Sometimes
I wear myself out with aerobic napping, but other than that my activity is pretty
well controlled. I have begun to find the big stores overwhelming and yet there
are few alternatives. The small, family operated businesses are few and far between.
It is so nice though, when you do find one. So humanizing. Revitalizing.
I ordered some perfume on the internet a couple of months ago. I have a hard time
with perfume. My body chemistry must be kind of wonky because most perfume ends
up smelling like bug spray or old laundry on me. Thereís a happy side effect to
this, which is that mosquitos, ticks and chiggers pretty much leave me alone.
Though a flea can smell me a mile away. Anyway, it narrows my choices and there
is only one kind of perfume I like. And, par for the course, it was discontinued
last year. Tragedy. You will understand how happy I was to find a website selling
it. I jumped on the opportunity and ordered two bottles. A few days after placing
my order something wonderful happened. I received a phone call from San Francisco.
It was the woman who owned the website. She called me to tell me that she had
recently bought the formula for the perfume from the original company and that
she would be sending my order but that she couldnít afford the pretty bottles
yet, because she was just starting out, and was that okay with me? I was tickled
to death! It is always nice to make a new friend and I loved the fact that I was
buying something from a person who was interested and excited about it and who
cared enough to call me up to chat a little. I will never buy perfume from anyone
else now, because I feel that we have, in a small way, a connection.
was pleased all out of proportion by this phone call, and I think I know why.
The world is becoming a bigger and more impersonal place. I know my old neighbors,
but havenít bothered to meet the new ones. I know my dentist, but does he know
me? I doubt it, though he puts up a good front. There is not one merchant in this
city who knows or cares what I buy or when I buy it or how often I need it. And
that makes me a bit sad. Makes me nostalgic for an era I never knew, when a person
might walk into a butcherís shop on Thursday and find a pound and a half of nice
sirloin already wrapped and readied for them by a guy they went to church with
and played cards with on Tuesdays. Wouldnít it be nice to live in a smaller world,
© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"
- November 15, 2004 Column