Shopping at Worcester supermarkets

By Rosalie Tirella

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pic: R.T.

A new day begins … Porch lights twinkle off outside my apartment windows and I look for my favorite tea at my cute coffee station …
☕Yesterday and a few days prior I was out and about – getting CECELIA ready to go to press. Felt like the old days! Sort of. … Everyone in Worcester seemed to be wearing a facial mask … and social distancing! A great thing! A community coming together to protect each other.

But something very sobering happens in the supermarket … something serious, a little scary: SO MANY PEOPLE WEARING ALL KINDS OF FACE MASKS, FACELESS, AVOIDING EACH OTHER, NO CHIT CHAT among customers. No lingering over the boxes of pilaf – shpuld I buy this flavor or should I try the Rice a Roni noodles? … All of the fun sapped out … All of the death around the corner if I turn my shopping cart here … or there … or there. EVERYONE SAD. EVERYONE BRAVE. Following the governor’s, our city leaders’, directives. We all know President Trump and his campaign style Covid-19 press briefings are a national joke – and disgrace – and a few of us will say so in the checkout line, careful to stay standing on our blue lines – 6 feet away from each other. Some supermarkets have the cute red feet to stand on to mark your place. I like those markers better – like being in Romper Room. Not coronavirus room – as in half of us have had the virus or are asymptomatic carriers. We’ll never know for sure, as there are not enough test kits for all Americans thanks to our feckless Dodo in Chief! So THE COUNTRY IS FLYING BY THE SEAT OF HER PANTS!

What kills me: the chubby – or skinny – old woman, alone, confused, slowed down, wearing her face mask a little crooked … not social distancing, coming up right behind you in the canned vegetable section. Followng you down to the tomato sauces … You throw her “a look,” but she can’t see your annoyed expression because you’re wearing a facial mask! But then you realize she is doing this on purpose, she wants to be close, she is scared … So you turn around … and say a few words (not comforting): “This is just like a science fiction movie!! A dystopian sci fi novel!” or “Did you ever think we’d be living like this?!!” She just shakes her head. She needs a hug.

Or: the pretty, slim 40-year-old woman. Suburban pretty with long blond hair and nice jacket – she comes up to you and blurts out: CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? My husband died. I’m a widow! I have to do all of this, everything, by myself!

She stands before you. Beautiful. Shaken. You say to her: You are so pretty! It will work out!… I live alone – a third of Americans live alone! Most of us our single! We HAVE TO DO WHAT WE NEED TO DO. …I stress this last part, she seems afraid.

Then she says: You’re right! You’re right! …and heads to the wrong door with her grocery bags and says, laughing: I don’t even know where I am going!

♥️Love you, Worcester supermarket shoppers! We are the working class, the widows and widowers, the oldsters … I wish beautiful birds could fly down from the blue sky and magically deliver groceries to our front doors …

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