This may be good for my health, but I still feel like a little old lady.
I finally took my chiropractor’s advice and bought a shopping cart to lug all my groceries.
It’s the right thing to do for my spine, but it seems like yet another step towards infirmity. Next I’ll be climbing on a Rascal Scooter to go play checkers in the park.
I had been putting this purchase off for a while, preferring to lumber down the street with bursting plastic bags in each hand and a bulging knapsack sagging down my back.
By the time I reach my dry cleaner, the last stop of my weekend shopping routine, I look like an overworked bellhop. And then I have to somehow pick up my shirts and get home.
I’ve been telling myself that this was perfectly acceptable, but on Saturday I decided I couldn’t go on killing myself. So I walked into a cheapie store on Third Avenue, threw down 20 bucks and wheeled my new cart out into the world.
I haven’t used one of these things since I was a kid and it felt like I was dragging around an obnoxious younger brother. It just didn't feel manly.
I hit a lot of stores on Saturday and I was the only one of my gender who had a shopping cart. But then the other guys probably stuck their wives with the shopping chores.
And, macho man stuff, aside, I have to admit that this was a good idea. I had to do a fair amount of walking and it was a relief to load up the cart with all kinds of stuff and still pull it around with a minimal effort.
My new cart is black—red was out of the question—with four wheels that make it much easier to pull or push than the old two-wheeler I used to have. And I don’t need no stinking supermarket carts anymore.
I was chatting with a cashier at a local supermarket while checking out some groceries and I told her my tale of woe.
“Oh, my mother has back problems,” she declared.
“Your mother…?” I said with an anemic smile.
“Yes,” she said. “And I’m trying to be careful because I don’t want back problems when I get older.”
I felt like I was decomposing on the spot. Here I was gently flirting with this young lady and she’s essentially telling me, hey, gramps, don’t die in front of my register.
I did the roll of shame out the door.
When I got home I folded up the cart and parked it on the landing of my apartment. This really was a good investment.
I was feeling rather proud of myself until I wheeled into my laundromat this morning and the lady at the desk took one look at my cart and started laughing.
This woman does not speak my language, but I got the feeling I was being mocked when she started a sentence in Chinese and ended with the word “cart.”
“Yes, it’s a cart,” I said to this person who couldn’t understand me. “I’ve got a bad back.”
She laughed even harder and I walked out, thoroughly routed by a non-English speaker. But I don’t care. I know I made the right decision.
I don’t want to do myself anymore harm and no matter how this looks, using a shopping cart is infinitely more rational than carrying all those bags.
But now I’m suddenly in the mood for cocoa…