a 600km grocery run

we were up north last week, doing some grocery shopping for p’s parents. they’re over 80 now, live in the countryside without a car, and don’t quite seem to grasp the magnitude of what is going on around them, or the basics about infectious diseases… which makes it hard to explain why the supermarket is a minefield, or why they shouldn’t get close to acquaintances they meet on the street. so, off we went.

being outside (even with a legitimate purpose like shopping or helping relatives) feels incredibly stressful, especially in a city. the supermarket is huge and yet inexplicably crowded at a fraction of its normal pre-pandemic capacity. my hands clam, my eyes and nose itch to be scratched, i’m hyper aware of everyone’s spatial location or the things i’ve touched. i just want to drop everything, go home and scratch my skin out in the shower — groceries be damned. i know it’s all in my head, but going out is what fills me with anxiety and dread these days, like a reverse cabin fever.

we dump the groceries in the in-laws with clear instructions not to touch anything non-perishable for a few days, catch up from a distance, and hope for the best. we stay a few days more, just in case.

on the way back, the highway is blissfully empty, a boring line that stretches north-south. we see partridges on the asphalt going their merry way and the police stop us on the last roundabout before home, just to make sure we’re locals.

we arrive, wash, disinfect and breathe a sigh of relief. it’s good to be home, safe and sound.


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