What could be simpler than a trip to the grocery store? For most people, probably very little; for a germophobe, few things are simple. A typical visit for me is like the one that happened not long ago.
I have established that the floor, any floor, is extremely dirty. Anything that is remotely close to the floor is also dirty. Shoes are really dirty. Pant legs are not quite as dirty, but still unclean. How does this relate to the grocery store? Well, any items on the lower shelves are in grave danger of being brushed up against by these unclean pant legs. In fact, I must assume that they have been. What, then, do I do if I need a product located on the bottom two or three shelves?
This is one example of how it goes. I entered the store, and the first thing on my list was, ironically, disposable gloves. Unfortunately they were located, yes, on the very bottom shelf. There were also other shoppers around. Why couldn’t I just have the store all to myself? It would make things so much easier. Obviously, I didn’t want the boxes of gloves that were at the front of the shelf. I tried to act as though I were browsing the other products while waiting for this other woman to move along – but she wasn’t budging. She seemed determined to wait me out. So, I bent down to get the gloves and get it over with. Then it happened – the event that I always dread if someone else is around. In trying to reach for the boxes in the back, I knocked the front box on the floor. Now I had a real problem. If no one else was around I would have shoved the box under the shelves with my foot. But I couldn’t do that with someone watching. Then the woman actually bent down next to me and starting looking at items on the bottom shelf right next to me! We were practically rubbing elbows. I stayed there as long as I could, then I grabbed a couple of boxes of gloves, tossed them in the cart, and tried to look like I forgot about the box on the floor. How embarrassing! And it did not go unnoticed by the other shopper. I glanced back after I walked down the aisle for a few seconds, and I saw her pick up the box and place it back in its spot.
I wish this were an isolated incident. Alas, I am always knocking things on the floor in my attempt to reach the “cleaner” items in the back. Once in a while something will drop straight down at an angle such that I can pick it up by a corner and toss it back where it belongs – or close to it. Most of the time there is no hope for that, and I have to leave it for the store clerk to pick up. I’m not proud of it; it’s what I need to do to survive.