Sunday, August 04, 2013

Cart and Soul

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.

Poppa Wheelie

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…


Petra said...

And I thought having a cart was what made one a real New Yorker. I ran out and happily bought one as soon as I moved into the city. I had no idea it only made me look old!

Rob K said...

Hey, Petra! No, it doesn't male you look old. It makes you look normal. Unlike myself...

Take care!

Bijoux said...

I remember my husband telling me it was hard to remember to not buy more than you can carry. I'm surprised you managed this long without a cart!

Yeah, it's hard when you are speaking with someone and they mention that their parent does the same thing. I often forget how old I actually am and that a 25 year old is no longer my peer.

Rob K said...

Hey, Bijoux!

Actually, I should have done this years ago. It was just foolish carrying all these bags around.

I knew a gentleman who used to say "age creeps up on you." But I don't think it creeps--it gallops.

Petra said...

Thanks, Rob!

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

I can't imagine why she laughed. It isn't funny at all to have to use one of these things and in fact I think it's downright cruel to make fun of people who must.

I have one, up in the spare room, from the days when I was a proper photographer and suffered much more from my fibromyalgia. Yes, I took a bit of stick from my fellow students in the classes - and even from the lecturer (shame on him) - but it was the only way I could lug my equipment around.

Use the cart and be damned, Rob. Nay, be proud. There is absolutely no mileage in damaging yourself for the sake of appearances.

Rob K said...

Hey, Jay!

I'm willing to let my laundry buddy slide because we know each other and I really don't know what she said--I mean, she could've been congratulating me.

Your fellow students and lecturer don't have any such excuses and yes, indeed, shame on them!

I will use my cart with pride, Jay. In fact, I may even give it a name!

Ron said...


*two thumbs up*

I'm so glad you got a cart because it makes me actually want to get one too. I have to walk SO FAR to and from the grocery store that I really need to get one, but was putting it off for all the reasons you shared.

"It's not manly"

But to hell with that because in the long-run carrying heavy bags of groceries can really put a lot of wear and tear, not only on our backs, but arms and shoulders as well.

And what kind of LOSER was that Chinese woman laughing and mocking you? She can't even speak English! Now THAT'S something to mock - HA!

As always, buddy, great post! You've got the most stellar sense of humor!

Hope you're having a super week!

Rob K said...

Hey, Ron! I have to say this has been one of my better investments, even though I still feel embarrassed to have one.

I really do recommend getting one.

My laundry buddy's cool; she just likes to break my chops and it's nice to know I have an international following!

Have a great week!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it doesnt help but this post definitely made me laugh! However, I know MANY young people with back problems so I do not think this should be looked at as a step towards old age but rather a smart move to avoid paralysis!

Rob K said...

Hi and thanks for stopping by! I was trying to find some humor out of this.

And you an excellent point. Toughing it out today often means serious problems tomorrow.

Take care!

CrystalChick said...

Since I have some back (uh, add hips, leg, neck, stomach and probably some other parts depending on the day) issues... a cart sure would be helpful at times. Hey, there have been a few instances when I have asked for 'helping hands' at one of our grocery stores. They have teenagers and young adults to assist shoppers take bags to their car. We're all in need at times... glad you have found something that helps.

Rob K said...

Thanks. It was just my ego getting in the way and the refusal to accept my condition. But I'm getting used to pulling that thing around now.

Calamity Jen said...

As a non-driver, I bought myself a cart way back when I was in my twenties. Sure, I was a few decades younger than anyone else I saw using one, but so what? I have always put comfort and practicality before style, and to heck with anyone who is petty enough to mock that. For you, the issue is your health, so it's even more critical that you look after yourself. Get some Tremclad and add racing stripes or flames if you want to jazz the cart up a bit. ;) As for names, how about Speed Racer or Greased Lightning? Want something more modern? Fast and Furious 6, perhaps?

Rob K said...

Yes, Jen, it is indeed a health issue. Love the racing stripes idea!

Great names, too, but since the thing is short and uses wheels, I think I'll call it R2D2.

Btw, I now harass that woman in the laundry by pretending to run her over with my cart. That'll fix her wagon...or cart.

Rob K said...

Yes, Jen, it is indeed a health issue. Love the racing stripes idea!

Great names, too, but since the thing is short and uses wheels, I think I'll call it R2D2.

Btw, I now harass that woman in the laundry by pretending to run her over with my cart. That'll fix her wagon...or cart.