The small pains of groceries

Here's a boring mundane thing that I thought about a couple of days ago. Saturday actually.

So the Clearview apartment was fairly ideally located for our needs. It was close to the transitway, loosely halfway between Hillary's office and mine and was a short walk away from the various Westboro stores.

The closest grocery store, not counting the tiny store in the basement of our building, was a Real Canadian Superstore that was 700m away as the crow flies. Over the nearly two years we lived in Clearview, we shopped there roughly weekly.

We shopped alone and we shopped together. I think it's possible I did slightly more than half of the solo trips, but it was close.

We often walked. I don't remember now what the breakdown of percentages was, but I'll hazard it was more than half the time. I wouldn't be surprised if it was upwards of 80% of the trips either.

I remember two particular types of trips.

The I bought too much trip. One or both of us would have gone overboard on picking things up. We'd reach the front of the store with several bags each and realize we had to walk home carrying most of a shopping cart of goods with us. It would be a painful walk and our hands and arms would be screaming for the end by the time we were only halfway back.

The oh gods it's cold trip. We walked at all times of the year. This meant we'd occasionally go grocery shopping by foot when the temperatures were well into the double digit negatives. Since a loaded return hike would take us close to fifteen minutes, we'd have to bundle up. Then, since the store would be warm we (I) would unload our layers into the shopping cart.

The worst trips were the ones that combined both of these. It happened a couple of times. It was -15C or -20C with a stiff breeze to make it feel even worse. We bought too many things and the load of a few bags in each hand was cutting off circulation to the fingers.

We'd hunker and doggedly plow forward, rarely talking as our faces hurt from the wind. Each focused on our own suffering and making it back to warmth. Possibly the worst insult would come as we got inside and had to wait for an elevator to take us up to the 16th floor. Arms aching and now we were waiting on something else, not just able to truck forward under our own power.

Then we'd make it. We dumped everything on the kitchen floor and collapse on the couch to warm up for a few minutes before putting things away.

This came to mind on Saturday as I walked through another Real Canadian Superstore, this one about 4500km away from the one in Westboro. I had a green shopping bin in each hand. Each filled with produce, fruit and other relatively heavy items. My arms and hands were aching as I finished my rounds in the store.

The task I was doing, combined with the physical discomfort brought me back.

The small pains of groceries. That might be a better title.