I made the mistake of heading out to the shops today. I wouldn't have done it, but we were running low on milk and needed a few things for brunch tomorrow. My God was that a mistake.
My first error was in not wearing gloves. I'm usually not a wimp about the cold, and today's air temperature of -3 C (30F) didn't faze me. But I forgot to look a the wind speed. Fifteen mph winds out of the northwest will pull a -3C to -10C pretty fast, and even I need gloves at this temperature.
My second blunder was waiting too late to get started. As soon as I saw the forecast had the S word (snow), I should have set out. The residents of the Greater Metro Area have never dealt well with snow, and they didn't start getting better today. When I arrived at our nearest shopping district, the streets were filled with honking cars competing for parking spaces and harried pedestrians crossing streets anywhere but the crosswalk. It was chaos.
My third miscalculation involved the supply chain mess. I had supposed that much of the most recent delivery problems had to do with weather, and since we were almost a week past the last snowfall, it was bound to be better, right? Nope. Even more empty shelves and everywhere I went was short of staff and the ones working were there heroically.
"Yesterday was worse," my check-out clerk said. "We got some people in to help from another store that stayed closed today, so this is better." She also told me about her mother. a retired teacher who had gone back into the schools to sub for absent instructors had tested positive for Covid yesterday and was doing everything she could to stay out of the hospital. "There's nothing I can do about it, so I'd rather be here working than home and worrying," she added.
My final oversight began as an act of kindness. The supermarket was down to two check-out lines, and the self-serve check-out swamped. The atmosphere was testy. My jurisdiction began charging five cents per bag for single-use plastic bags last week, so now everyone ahead of me asked for a paper sack, which had to be brought out from some hidden supply, unfolded, often double bagged, and prepared before it could be packed. The line crept along, and from the corner of my eye, I spotted a container of peanut butter cookies on the 50% off table. Now, the Husband's favorite flavor of cooky is peanut butter, and he had been feeling a little down today. So without thinking twice, I scooped up a package to bring home. It was only later, after we had unpacked the groceries and I had parked the car, that he thanked me for the cookies and gently pointed out that they were for dogs.