The panic is brewing. Snowpocalypse 2: Snow-My-God is looming. It's well known in the Washington area that when the snow's a-comin', you better head directly to the grocery store, do not pass go, and purchase milk, bread, and toilet paper. It's commonplace to find the stores filled to the gills -- in fact, rumor has it that even as I write this Whole Foods on P Street has closed its doors and is not letting anyone else in because it's full to capacity. Grocery stores are known to run out of staple items at the first incling of a flake. But today I had a fully different experience when I ducked into the local market to pick up a few staples of my own (wine, cheese, bacon, a baguette, etc.). Let me set the scene . . .
The aisles packed. Tensions high. Yuppies in search of Perrier, soft cheeses, and a variety of spirits wander aimlessly, zombie-like alarm in their eyes. My own panic drove me to join them . . . in search of the items that would sustain us during the onslaught. (All day long, I've heard of Snowmageddon and the end of the world as we know it. News alerts have gone out telling residents to prepare to "shelter in place for 3-5 days." I've been wondering, is this a snow storm or the coming of the A-bomb?) Back to the store . . . I make my way to the back of the store, hell bent on bacon for breakfast.
And then it happened. A real reason for panic. No bacon! Unless you count turkey bacon, which I don't. It hit me. I felt the sheer horror rising in my throat. If the store could run out of bacon, what else might it be out of? Wine? Goat cheese? Fresh baked baguette? My pulse began to quicken. A sweat broke out on the small of my back. My hands started to shake. I steadied myself on the deli case and made my way to the wine aisle (first things first, after all). Phew! Wine aplenty. I could feel my hands quieting as I picked three bottles. Baguette . . . nope. Uh oh, more sweat and shaking. Now what? What would I spread my cheese on? Oh! Crackers, I thought, as I raced to that part of the store, picking up two boxes before scooting off to the cheese case. Goat cheese . . . gone! Heart rate back up, until I spied brie instead. Another crisis averted. My god, how do emergency preparedness personnel handle this kind of stress?
I grabbed two Diet Cokes and headed toward the check out before any further mishaps could befall me. No line? Could this be? Had I been left behind or something? I decided I didn't really care if I had . . . I just paid my bill and got out of there. And as left the store into the night air and the crowded Adams Morgan streets, my pulse slowed to a normal rate, and I again realized that there's nothing to worry about. This isn't the apocalypse and I hadn't been left behind . . . and even if I had been, at least there'd be no line at the grocery store.