A little less than half a year ago, my wife and I picked up our family and moved from Washington, D.C., to Seattle. There are many things that I miss about D.C.: the close proximity to some of the best museums in the country, as well as the incredibly intelligent and ambitious people who populate that city. But what I do not miss about D.C. is the lack of grocery stores.
To be fair, there was a grocery store not far from where I lived, but getting there was a pain. The only two ways to access the store were both single-lane roads winding tightly up a steep hill. Since the grocery store shares a parking lot with a crowded Metro station, those narrow and winding roads were often clogged both with pedestrians going to and from work, as well as buses which could only navigate the sharp turns by straddling both lanes of traffic at once. I always cringed at the thought of making a run to that store, and it was no different when I walked through its doors last November.
Chicken stock. I was just there to get chicken stock and nothing more. I knew where the chicken stock was, and snatched it off the shelf like it was the last case of bottled water as a hurricane was bearing down on the city. I speedwalked to the registers and scanned the situation like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator. Aisle 6 was a negative, with a woman’s cart filled to capacity. The gentleman in the front of Aisle 5 was too friendly, intent on making conversation instead of purchases. But Aisle 4, that was the way to go. Only two customers were lined up, and that lane was limited to 15 items or less. I quietly thanked God that this trip was going to be mercifully short.
But of course, as it seems to be my lot in life, I chose the wrong line. ...1