Once word gets out that ‘it’s clear,’ we all go out sliding out of our back doors. Your front path is still a sheet of ice; your backyard is still an ice skating rink. You can finally get out of your driveway; you have egress–thanks to your sweet husband shoveling a path. Those Midwesterners can flat-out handle a snow shovel. When you finally drive out of the ‘hood, you run into other neighbors–who are all congregating at the mouth, in the entrance. There’s been a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ networking, within the caves, in order to find out which streets are clear, and the exact location of black ice patches. You are like a flight control team; NASA ain’t got nothing on us.
When you finally cut loose and navigate the uphill lane (looks like a bobsled track, one friend observed) to re-visit ye olde grocery store, you felt such a sense of calm, happiness, thankfulness. You vow to never take for granted driving to this sweet chain store to purchase whatever food they have at hand, even if they do put up the huge Superbowl display in October: ginormous chip bags, mustard bottles as big as footballs and boxes o’ brew. So many others have also crawled out of their caves and slowly chugged up to their personal grocery store–last place they’ve been, first place they’ve gone back. Still and yet, some are wobbling around in the parking lot, falling over on their shoulders, in their desperate eagerness to get out of the house and buy fodder.
Once you arrive safely indoors, everyone is positively beaming; you’ve never seen such jubilant people in your life. People’s faces purely shone, as if coming out of a cave–their faces positively luminous. Folks are bending over backwards to say, “No, no, no– you take the last egg from the shelf,” or , “Here, you take the last box o’ clementines.” Minding our manners, we are so thankful to be :
a. Out of our domiciles, all of a piece
b. Back on the road and
c. Wheeling a big fat trolley around in a place that offers fresh food stuffs– and is open to boot.
But soon you realize that you are so disoriented after being in your cave for so long, that you are going through the store backwards. Starting from the left side, rather than the right, so your cart keeps clanging into other carts. Not hard to do since every school kid in your county, and the three contiguous counties, appears to be in the store as well. Gettin’ on parents last nerves, bless their lil hearts.
The cool part is that the loudspeaker is playing the Tears for Fears song, “Everybody Want to Rule the World,” which makes our spirits soar even higher. Maybe we do want to try and rule the world, or at least over-rule Mother Nature.
Later, the kind bag-boy apologized: “The truckers just pulled up. We just now got fresh produce.’
“No worries,” you replied. “Happy as a clam. I am so thankful.”
Minutes later, the disk jockey announces on your radio, “Honey, Mother Nature was trying to take us out and she couldn’t do it.” Woot! Woot!
As you sled back homeward, you decide to relegate the term ‘cave fever,’ to those who are stuck without power, and to stick to your old ‘cabin fever’ motif. Even though we did all have startled blinking looks about us and a sort of pallor and lumbered about unsteadily.
Meanwhile, gallantry is not dead yet–this sweet gentleman who was salting the icy parking lot, offered to take your arm, when you stopped at your neighborhood butcher on the way back home. You dedicate this post in his honor.