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Shopping with the Elderly: Observations and Revelations

Have you ever been at the grocery store the day before a mild weather-related event (emphasis on mild)? Just recently, I went to the grocery store around 11am to pick up a few items for dinner when something startling occurred to me:

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That day, the entire grocery store was filled with the elderly; and I mean the very elderly. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the average age of the shoppers must have been around 120 years old (give or take a few years). I’m talking about REAL OLD, like the shriveled-up wheelchair raisin lady from Spongebob. For those who don’t know, this lady:

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I was only in the store for five minutes before this realization came to me. The old folks were everywhere, and to my amazement, they all knew each other.

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As I wandered from aisle to aisle, even more fascinating things emerged. The chatter among the customers remained consistent in topic, and the total number of topics covered was limited.

I’ve made a quick chart to show the topics covered by seniors in the grocery store:

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During the charade of grocery shopping, many thoughts came to me:

Why is the store so crowded right now? Why is everyone here older than time? Where are all the moderately old people (like ages 65-85)? 

Also, why do so many people have no concept of/consideration for the space around them?

EXHIBIT A:

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(Just kidding, I didn’t say any of that, but I sure wanted to.)

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Then it hit me: an above-average amount of rain was predicted in the forecast for the next day. This explained why all the elders were out in droves at 11am. They needed at least 24 hours to prepare for, you know, the rain. Nesting isn’t just a thing experienced by expectant mothers, you know.

By the time I made it to the check out, I was mystified. I felt like I had traveled to a land where the oldest of the old lived, and this was their grocery store. I walked among them, like some sort of ghoul of youth.

As if the morning couldn’t have gotten any more fascinating, I noticed that all the lines were long, but nobody seemed bothered by this in the slightest. Instead, it was a social event. There was lots to talk about and lots of people to talk with. Long lines simply meant more good conversation opportunities. Whilst waiting, I was able to very rapidly summarize the types of people in front of me. I will shamelessly describe them in a stereotypical fashion for you now:

In Line #1, we have Pauline. She’s 107 years old, and in the “10 items or less” line with 83 cans of Tuna in her cart,  and one container of OxiClean. After all of her items have been scanned, she decides that she needs 3 more cans of tuna, and proceeds to “hurry” back to find the aisle where the tuna lived. She’s gone for 15 minutes because she went down the wrong aisle 3 times, and she ran into her neighbor, Santiago (age: 104), who she already spent 20 minutes speaking with earlier that morning.

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In Line #2, we have Jack (130 years old) and his wife, Virginia (124 years old). They only have 3 items, but they’ve got roughly 400 coupons in a little plastic case. After sorting through which ones were applicable, and hearing the total, they decide they are going to write a check. Keep in mind, the total is $4.32. Virginia insists that she be the one to write the check because she has better handwriting, but alas, she cannot locate her glasses. (The glasses are on her head, but Jack realizes this, finds the mystery humorous, and decides not to inform her.) Jack writes the check and Virginia scolds him for his sloppy handwriting, which gives him another chuckle. They are at the register for a total of 23 minutes.

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In Line #3, we have Mary Anne. A delightfully social woman of 99 years of age, she’s been in the store for almost 4 hours because she won’t stop talking to every person she encounters. Despite being at the register, the cashier cannot finish the sale because Mary Anne is telling a long-winded story about her Grandson’s dog’s hernia. Also, the weather. Also, her own hernia. The cashier has transformed into an apathetic zombie, but Mary Anne doesn’t seem to notice or if she has noticed, she doesn’t give a hoot.

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And then there was me, wondering how I had found myself in this landscape of AARP, hip replacements, and Kellogg’s Raisin Bran cereal. A myriad of thoughts traipsed through my mind. The worst one, was this:

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With devastation, it occurred to me that I must have become elderly overnight, which would explain why I found myself meandering in the seascape of seniors – I had become one of them. I was no ghoul of youth, rather, this was a reverse type of situation where an elderly spirit was trapped inside of me. It all made so much sense. I was there too, picking up some essentials because it was going to rain and I don’t like driving in the rain because driving can be overstimulating for me and rain makes it even harder. I wanted to be home when it rained – with my soup and an intense dystopian novel. Nobody noticed that I was the only person under 95 because the spirit residing inside me is roughly 110.

After accepting my new reality, and paying for my food, my only exit was blocked by a large crowd of farewell conversations; one last goodbye before they all meet again probably tomorrow at the pharmacy or the audiologist. But I was trapped. There is and was only one solution for this type of problem:

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Note: never do this. Unless you’re an employee, then by all means, do this.

Shopping with people who were probably around during the time of the dinosaurs was both a thrilling and frustrating experience. I admire their dedication to shopping the sales and tenacity to staying alive. Also, their humor.

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So quirksters, the next time it’s raining (or going to rain), please head on over to your local food supplier and tell me if this phenomenon is nation-wide or just an isolated event. I need to know.

Xo your old friend, kelly

 

 

 

 

How to Humiliate Yourself in Front of Attractive People in Public Spaces

Some days, you may ask yourself the following: can I somehow make this day worse on purpose?

The answer is yes, and I’m about to show you how you can create regrettable moments by using my own true story from my late adolescence as an example.


If you follow this blog, it’s no secret that I’ve had my share of bowel problems. I don’t know why I used to be ashamed of them. Everyone has bowels. Everyone eats. Everyone poops. I might imagine one could be embarrassed about pooping if you were the only person in the entire world who did it. That would make for awkward dinner conversation.

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Luckily, the tale I’m about to share happened quite a while ago, so I am a different person now and can safely recount this unfortunate adventure with confidence knowing that I no longer give a foof if these events happened to me today.

Many years ago, during a less-than-great time, I was experiencing some issues with my bowels. I needed some medicated intervention down south ASAP, so I decided to go to a nearby drugstore to retrieve the necessary items.

(NOTE: My car does not actually fly. It can only reach a maximum speed of 23 mph and the horn sound is similar to the vocalizations of a farm animal.)

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I chose to shop at this one specific drugstore because every time I had been there previously, there was always older women working behind the counter, and I could buy whatever products I needed and not feel weird about it.

As I wandered (painfully) through the florescent-lit space, I grabbed the things I needed:

-Fiber One Cookies

-Preparation H

-Miralax

And finally, as if matters weren’t unfortunate enough, I also had a raging period. So I bought two more items:

-Giant, overnight maxi pads with wings (These are basically fancy diapers, let’s be real here.)

-A bag of Reese’s (Don’t worry, the irony isn’t lost on me. But I figured the laxative powder would cancel out any of the constipation from the chocolate. See? I had everything sorted out.)

I headed to the counter to pay for my plethora of remedies, with a sense of calm reassurance flowing through my pores. My unfortunate situation was nearly just a memory.

I haphazardly placed all my crap on the counter. (Heads up: this is where the story turns regrettable.)

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Standing behind the counter were not any of the women I had seen there countless times before. Oh no. It was perhaps the most attractive-looking young man I had ever seen – or may ever see – in this life. Imagine for a moment the top (literally, the number one) male model in the world decided to quit modelling one day and work at your local drugstore for no reason. Imagine you went to that same drugstore the very next day and bought the most obvious constipation, hemorrhoid, menstruation products at the same time and slathered them shamelessly on the counter in front of him.

During those first few seconds, the situation looked like this:

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Within 4 seconds, the air between him and I changed.

Picture, if you will, his gorgeous face transforming into a state of primal fear because he’s new to this life and emotionally not able to handle the fact that women have bodies, and his awkwardness flows from him with more strength than you can bear. Imagine you suddenly become painfully aware of this cringe-fest, but have no choice but to tolerate it because you NEED those things on the counter. That, my friends, is what transpired. Him and I became trapped in the sacred space I call, the Zone of Discomfort.

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He scanned each item slowly, avoiding all eye contact with me. The realization that I was buying all these things at the same time appeared to traumatize him and subsequently, me. I figured the panic must have inhibited his motor skills to a certain degree because he was moving as if he were in some kind of nightmare.

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After a few brief moments of unbearable awkwardness, he managed to utter a total. His vocalizations barely reached my eardrums through the Zone of Discomfort. It’s thick fog created a terrible barrier.

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The fact is, this experience was so awkward because of the combination of events that happened to occur together. Like the perfect storm, this situation had all the right components for devastation: nineteen year-old me, nineteen year-old most attractive human on earth, and our unavoidable interaction involving products that suggested embarrassment and pain at the mere sight of the packaging. I did not utter a single word, yet, my basket of items screamed, “EVERYTHING NEAR MY BUM IS HURTING AND BLEEDING AND I’M DYING.”

After what felt like a century of nauseating levels of tension, I swiped my debit card and noped out of there with such velocity that Usain Bolt would’ve been left choking on my dust.

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Back safely in my car, I ripped open the bag of Reese’s to heal myself from the cringe-fest I just experienced. Luckily, I never saw the model employee again, and he probably was thankful he never saw me again either. We had bonded in the most unfortunate way. His heart and my heart were forever united for those few brief moments of unparalleled embarrassment. I feel a sort of kinship with him, but also, I pray our paths may never cross again.

What’s the moral lesson to be taken from this story? There is no moral lesson. If you want to humiliate yourself in front of attractive people in public spaces, I’m sure the story I described above will inspire you to cringe your way through life. I am proud of you – go forth and live your best life in the Zone of Discomfort.

Just some advice for everyone else: always use the self-check out.

xo kel

I am the Navajo Warrior

Somewhere in the woods behind my house lives an entire pack of coyotes. I know this because every now and then, they will all begin to shriek and yelp together for a minute or two. The sound of it is rather disturbing, and it usually happens in the middle of the night.

One night, I woke to the sound of the coyotes howling, except this time, they were louder than ever before. In fact, they sounded as if they were right outside my house. They went on forever, until suddenly, I saw a light flick on outside my window. Instantly, the entire pack was silenced. The light remained on for another minute, then went off. No more sounds were heard for the rest of the night.

The next morning I jumped out of bed eagerly (which is not normal for me, because getting out of bed is my most hated activity). I ran to my sister in the room next to mine, hoping she too heard the commotion last night.

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Next, I quickly searched for Momsy. Surely she must have heard the wild noises in the night! She hears everything.

 

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On the brink of completely losing it, I texted my dad.

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(Yes, I  still have one of those awesomesauce flip phones with a keyboard, built in 2007 or something.)

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When I got Dad’s reply, I was overjoyed! DAD HEARD THEM TOO.

Then he sent another text:

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What a fantastical idea!

I was already wearing my striped pajamas, so I quickly threw on some heavy duty neon teal socks, then my boots, my poofy coat, a polka dot scarf, old blue mittens, and of course, my owl hat. I contemplated putting some sort of helmet on my head, either a metal pot or pasta strainer, but I opted out and risked head injury. The wilderness called me, and I was prepared.

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I stepped outside into the cool morning and marched through the snow towards my garden. I peeked around like a ninja and scanned the trees and snow banks, looking for evidence of the wild dogs. It was quiet and still. The trees loomed over my head, watching me.

I  hunted for tracks in the snow, or anything to give me a clue! Suddenly, I spotted some faint tracks and a brown blob just ahead of me.

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To my frustration, it was just the paw prints and old turd of my dog Sam.

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Sam was outside on the deck, glaring at me. He poked his pudgy face through the deck railings.

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After the incident of false hope, it was then that I noticed that I had forgotten to grab a golf club for protection. Instantly, I was vulnerable; a snack waiting to be devoured. I tried to imagine the scenario if the coyotes appeared. It went two ways:

Option 1, I beg for mercy and convince the coyotes that I am not worth their efforts because I would be a pointless snack.

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Option 2, I summon my inner wilderness warrior and become the leader of the pack.

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After a while of searching, there was no sign of the pack of coyotes anywhere. I returned inside, a little TREMENDOUSLY disappointed.

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I texted my dad, and told him I found zero evidence. I also casually mentioned that I went out there without any weapons. I told him I was a warrior of nature, essentially.

This was our actual conversation, I copied it directly from my phone:

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At the end of the day, it was only my dad and I that heard the coyotes. We have yet to purchase night vision goggles, as they are more expensive than either of us realized. Still, my quest to track down the coyotes will never cease. When I hear their calls in the darkness, I stealthily peer out the corner of my window and hope to catch a glimpse of the scruffy dogs of the wild.

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Are YOU a wilderness warrior? Have you had an extreme run-in with nature?! Comment below and join me in my quest to become keeper of the wilderness! Together, we can save the animals.

xo kelly