Saturday, June 11, 2016

I went to the grocery store

What I did: grocery shopping at DeCicco’s in a nearby town.

What I wore: tall boots, black Pikeur full-seat breeches, turquoise polo shirt, blood-stained gray hoodie that I bought last year when I went to Miami without workout clothes, scowl. I don't know where the blood stains came from.

What I did beforehand: riding lesson.

Who went with me: rambunctious groups of teens from the local high school.

What I needed to buy: powdered sugar, quart-size Ziploc bags, something for dinner.

Why I chose this store: there is an excellent dry cleaner in the same strip mall. The uninspiring dry cleaner we’ve been using in Bedhead Hills has a dirty, disorganized store.

Where I parked: on the second lane from the south edge of the lot, between a Toyota SUV and a Hyundai that had backed in.

Things that were sad: the grocery store always makes me sad.  Our nation's last telecommunications bill was passed in 1996, before smartphones. Kids are graduating college under staggering amounts of debt and there aren’t any decent jobs. Our elected officials haven’t the courage to enact legislation to limit man-made greenhouse gases. The gun lobby has made even our elementary schools dangerous. Women in rural areas lack access to reproductive health care. Medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in American households. I am 53 and can’t get anything but a polite rejection when I apply for jobs. I’ve reached the point in my life when sometimes I feel I have no purpose. My parents died in their early 60s and I’m wasting my 50s feeling sorry for myself.

Things that were funny: at least I didn’t cry today.

Things that were not funny: “The glass ceiling is shattered, girls!” is a lie. You still make a lot less than your male peers. Your success is still mostly determined by how wealthy your parents were. Don’t let your patronizing acquaintances tell you how to feel about yourself.

What it is: where limp hopes and forgotten dreams go to die.

Who should see it: are you hungry, because dinner won’t make its fucking self.

What I saw on the way home: the dead bugs and road grit smeared with the first pass of my windshield wipers as it began to rain. But I summoned my energy after putting the groceries away and walked the dogs in the rain. The woods were very quiet. I was thinking about how different the world still is for women, and I heard a rustling. A big deer sprang away, more frightened of us than we had a right to be frightened of it; I was filled with adrenaline, thinking, "It might have been a coyote, or a golfer looking for a ball, or a varsity swimmer from Stanford, who the media should call a rapist." 

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