Saturday, May 9, 2020

Still Life with Robin: Coronavirus and the Meaning of Life (Cereal, That Is) Part II

Again, There Is Bounty!
by Peggy Robin

Two weeks ago (Saturday, April 25) I posted a column that started off by spouting off on the value of things in life, and then quickly got sidetracked into the far more frivolous question of the role that trivial preferences – like brand name products over generics – can have on our mood. This time around, I’m dispensing entirely with any nod to deeper, philosophical meaning and just getting to the practical point. We have irrational preferences for certain brands….and now they’re back! Not in great quantity, and not everywhere. You do need to scout them out. But if you do your homework and you show up at the right store at the right time, Bounty will be yours. And quite possibly some Charmin, too. And those crispy Claussen pickles. Not to mention Total and Life. Standing in the grocery store aisle with a full cart, I began to feel the jigsaw pieces of the old shattered world slowly snapping back into place, a few at a time.

And I didn’t even have to get up at the crack of dawn to see these long missing pieces come into place. I went to the Giant at around 8 AM – not in the 6-7 AM window set aside to give seniors a first crack at the goods.

I do need to confess, I have not gone entirely without Bounty these past two weeks. As a result of my complaint in this space two weeks ago about the lack of any Bounty to buy, I received a number of private replies providing some hot shopping tips – where to get this or that item on my list. But one kind neighbor went above and beyond that, and assumed the role of the Paper Towel Fairy, flying by my front porch one day and leaving behind a roll of Bounty. I’ve been doing so well at conserving paper towels, by using my dish towels for all kinds of drying and mopping-up tasks, that I succeeded in making that one roll last most of the two week stretch.

When I finally reached the point of having to do more shopping, I followed the tip of another list member who recommended going out to the Westbard Giant in Bethesda. Not only is it big and well-stocked, but it’s got wide aisle, which make it easy to steer clear of other shoppers. There are clear floor markings directing the flow of shopping cart traffic to help people maintain their distance. The cashiers are well protected behind large, plexiglass barriers. The credit card machines are wrapped in disposable plastic which can be changed easily.  Everyone – whether an employee or shopper – is wearing a mask. And the parking lot is so capacious you can park far away from anyone else, if you don’t mind a bit of a hike to the front door of the store.

I knew as soon as I stepped inside that this was going to be a most rewarding trip. The whole store looked just as you expect a normal grocery store to look. No empty, unfilled space as far as the eye could see. Not even in the high-demand paper products section of the sotre. And there was the Bounty, in both select-a-size and whole sheet mode. There was a polite sign on the shelf asking customers to limit themselves, please, to just two packages. I took only one package of eight double rolls. That should hold me for quite a while. It's definitely enough to keep me from writing a third column on this subject!

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.  

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