This weekend I went grocery shopping in Grande Prairie. It was the first time I’ve been inside of a grocery store in the city since October, back before Covid cases started to rise for the second time. When I woke up early in the morning, and the temperature read -40, I figured it was a safe time to go. And it was! Shoppers were few and far between; clearly most people are not interested in heading out in temperatures that hurt your face.
But for the first time in almost a year, I didn’t feel rushed at the grocery store. With so few people, I didn’t feel like I usually do, even in Beaverlodge, where I’m compelled to mentally pre-plan my route to be as efficient as possible. The goal, it seems, is generally to spend as little time inside the store as possible. And while I sometimes try to fight it, after months of messaging, it’s pretty engrained: stay safe, stay home. But a girls gotta eat, so I like to plan ahead.
My usual plan: Ok, bananas, then a zucchini. Grab a cucumber. Jug of milk. Head to the till.
The usual reality: Ok, grab a basket. I need bananas. An old lady’s blocking the entire display with her cart. Shoot. I’ll circle back. What’s next? Right, cucumbers. Got it! Man it’s hot wearing a parka and a toque and a mask. Hope I don’t faint. Jug of milk. Got it. I wonder how many germs are on this handle? Ok, back to the bananas. Shoot! The floor arrows say I can’t go this way. I’ll just head up this other aisle . . . Man it’s hot wearing a parka and a toque and a mask.
In comparison, Sunday’s experience felt like a beach vacation on some far away tropical island. I felt a little more relaxed, a little less pressured, and a little more free to browse. And it was glorious! So while living in a place that’s currently colder than Antarctica has its drawbacks, I’m thanking the cold weather for a surprising gift. Who knew grocery shopping could be so much fun?