September 11, 2008


First of all, I’m a total liar. I didn’t even consider getting out the camera over the last two days. I promise, that by Tuesday…


The local supermarket here in West Caldwell is about 200 yards from our house. In the summer months this allows us to live an old timey, French countryside sort of lifestyle in which we purchase our groceries daily instead of weekly. Given the distance most food travels, I have no idea if this makes our meals fresher, but it makes us feel fresher. Plus, these daily walks are chipping away at my now gargantuan belly. It’s getting to the point where, from my vantage point, my belt looks like the equator ceaselessly circling a very large, fleshy globe.

Having said that, getting to the store on foot is much more difficult than it should be. If you haven’t noticed, we don’t exactly live in a walking friendly country. Residents of most large cities can still walk to complete their essential errands. However, in a small, suburban town like West Caldwell, you are left feeling as if someone out there doesn’t want you to walk. The non-walking residents of our town definitely viewed us as something less than desirable. Instantly, our family of four was transformed into a disadvantaged clan of new immigrants from Moldova.

In the short distance we walked, huddled together and freezing, there were myriad obstacles out there trying to derail us. From dumpster after rancid dumpster that line the back of the ShopRite to the rocky path that made passing with our stroller impossible, we found ourselves turned back over and over again. Eventually we emerged from a garbage strewn alley onto Bloomfield Avenue facing five lanes of traffic without a crosswalk. This always makes me nervous, and if there were not a Dunkin Donuts on the other side I would never venture it with the kids. Sadly, this wound up being the easiest part of our trip.

With coffee fresh in hand, we decided to try crossing the street at the light instead. This seemed prudent given the sudden increase in traffic. I only had to press the “push here to cross” button 37 times before the light changed. I totally got it switch to green with my sticktoitiveness. I’m the guy who helps you out by getting the elevator doors to close by passionately hitting the glowing >< button too. You’re welcome.

Now we were on our way. The ShopRite was in sight and there was nothing left to stop us. Other than the lady on her cell phone who never looked right when exiting the parking lot. We had to dart behind her to avoid impact. Like the rest of America, she never even knew we were there.

The purchasing of groceries, as always, was wholly uneventful. That is, until checkout. For some reason the painted woman behind the register with the neon red bee-hive was giving us the stink eye the entire time. She hated our immigrant asses. All of her fears were validated when we told the bagger that we didn’t, in fact, need any bags. We had our stroller and our ubiquitous reusable bags, and asked to just have the goods handed over. The look we were given now went well beyond stink eye and bordered on outright hostility. She actually picked up the phone and haughtily asked her manager if we were allowed to leave without officially branded bags. Ridiculous. I wanted to punch her in her hive.

We were at last free to go and made our way back past the dumpsters, over the rocks, onto the gnarled metal walkway spanning the creek, past all of the cold, averted, bourgeois eyes, and finally to our home. We unloaded the groceries, smiled at our good fortune to live so close to the store and quickly enrolled Annie in a local ESL course.


Blogger DoulaMomma said...

"punch her in her hive"

to whom do I submit the receipt for the new keyboard I may need to purchase?...I snorted out seltzer while laughing! (who needs a neti pot?!)

September 11, 2008 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger Dani said...

Beamingly proud from NZ.

September 14, 2008 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger Dani said...

P.S.- The average item of food travels 1400 miles in America, and consumes 10 calories in fossil fuels for every calorie it offers nutritionally.
Maybe a walk to the local farmstand is next, but I wont push my luck.

September 14, 2008 at 4:28 PM  

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