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Tricia Mirchandani Headshot

What Happened When I Went to the Grocery Store... Alone

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I went to the grocery store yesterday.

Alone.

I parked in the back row, far from the entrance. I walked across the hot, black asphalt, weaving my way through parked cars and cart pushers, and I did not maintain a white-knuckled grasp on anyone else's hand.

I picked the smallest cart, the one that doesn't have space to seat a small human.

I did not pause to gaze at myself on the security TV as I pushed through the sliding doors.

I moseyed up and down the aisles.

I did not name 'apples' and 'bananas' and 'carrots' as I wound through the produce department.

I did not stop at the lobster tank to point and ogle those creepy creatures trying to claw their way to the water's edge.

I hugged corners and walked a toddler's arm-length away from the shelves, maybe even closer, without fear of needing a clean up in aisle 5.

I spent at least five minutes studying cheese options.

I did not walk on only the white tiles (or is it any color but the white tiles?). Nobody told me, repeatedly, that those tiles (the white ones... or is it the black ones?) are hot lava. Neither I, nor anyone around me, nearly fell even once while leaping and dancing from one block of tiles to another.

I put each item I selected into the cart myself. No bruised apples, no broken crackers, no dented boxes of tomatoes were found in my possession.

I did not sing. Neither along with the song in my own head or to whatever pop tune was being pumped out into the air. I don't even remember what songs serenaded this freedom trip, as I wandered with my little cart.

I didn't ride the elevator but, if I had, I would have pushed the buttons. All of them. All by myself.

I used the self-check out and I scanned every item. I did not pull little people away from the bagging area. And the machine worked just fine. I got my own receipt. Nobody asked (or begged, or cried) to help me.

When I was done, I did not take the cart to my car. I did not say goodbye to the cart either. I did not find myself tethered to its black plastic handle until the proper goodbyes had been spoken.

And nobody lost a shoe as I parted with that cart.

I carried my two bags to the car, one in each hand, rather well-balanced. Nothing I was carrying squirmed or tried to break free.

I loaded the bags into the trunk and then slid into the driver's seat. I sat there for a minute. Nobody cried or demanded a snack for the five-minute ride.

And then, I drove home.

I did not listen to one Disney song the entire way.

It probably took all of about 20 minutes.

And no, it wasn't the best 20 minutes of my weekend. It wasn't even the best 20 minutes of my day.

But thinking of it this morning, well it makes me smile.

So much so that, I think, next weekend, I'll do it again.

Until then...