When you’ve lived 30 years in a cold climate, and you move down to Florida, the first thing you notice isn’t the palm trees, it’s the old people. Now when I say “old” I don’t mean 60, 70 or even 80. The people down here are older, ancient really. They make the 80 year olds look spry.
These people are walking corpses, preserved by the Florida heat and humidity, equivalent, to the exact specific conditions of where you would store your best cigars. If you are in the grocery store down here in August, you will find your isles completely open. However when it gets colder, down here it gets older. They all huddle in the Publix grocery mart.
Once a week I brave the masses and take my three year old food shopping. Taking a three year old grocery shopping is a traumatic event. It is the type of outing that can make you really contemplate talking to your doctor about sterilization. Developing a sophisticated system is vital to making sure everyone gets out alive and in good emotional health.
First things first, get cart, sanitize completely, stick child in said cart. Then, drop off mommy’s prescription for her happy pills at the pharmacy. Finally, give child new bag of Earth’s Best alphabet cookies, know your isles and stick to your list. Put 20 minutes on the clock and BEGIN.
I’m about half way through my list in the dairy isle when an old man shuffles over with an ear to ear smile at Bre, “Oh, can I get a ride too?”
“Oh, yes hop on in!” is the automatic- be nice to the old people -response. He smiles fondly and shuffles away.
A silver haired, stooped over lady hobbles over, touches Bre’s arm and coos, “Oh, isn’t she a dear, look at that beautiful hair!” Bre screams, “Mama, who is she?”
“Oh my,” I respond with an over compensated laugh, “Must be somebody’s naptime!” Silver haired lady just looks sweetly at us and continues on.
We finish quickly as the cookies are running low, pick up the prescription and stand in line to pay.
A wispy white haired woman about the height of a small child, stands behind us and tries to sing to Breanna. At this point we are 5 minutes over schedule and Bre has decided to throw cart items onto the counter, mixing our items with everyone else’s. A container of blueberries spills. “Mama, I help!” she shrieks. Wispy white haired lady bestows upon me an endearing look.
I know time has lost me; the shopping trip is looking like a disaster. I wistfully catch a glimpse of the wine isle and wonder why I didn’t pick up a bottle.
We pay, politely tell the overly helpful bagger that, ‘no, we don’t need you to push the cart to my car’ and begin to walk fast out of there. Bre is beginning to bite me.
I remember that I had to park my car in the way back of the lot, due to the fact that the first 18 rows of every lane are dedicated to handicapped parking. I successfully dodge an old man who almost runs me over trying to back out of his spot. We get to our car; I pack Bre and groceries in.
I sit in front seat, Bre is crying hysterically and I take a deep breath.
Old people depress me.
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