Let me preface this by saying that I living in New England and have lived here since I was too young to remember weather being anything other than this. It snows here. Every year at this time of year the temperature is low. It’s cold out because it’s winter. If there is precipitation it comes in the version called snow because it’s winter. This is what happens in New England. Despite the frequency of snow and storms, people still read this as the end of the world and panic. If these were the New England transplants (if people even move here from far off sunny places) I would understand but it’s not. It’s the hardened, life long, horrible accent slinging New Englanders and on the day before a storm they are all in the grocery store buying food like they will never be able to get food again. Of course I know this because I was there too.
I was standing standing in the dairy section which was the end of the checkout line. I had my few staple that I wanted since I hadn’t shopped in a week. In front of me was woman with a cart packed to the brim with soda, frozen chicken, loaves of bread and bags of cheese doodles. She was yelling at her three kids to go get some candy bars. The woman in front of her had an almost identical cart but topped with dozens of rolls of toilet paper. I looked at my meager basket with some oatmeal, milk for hot chocolate and a couple packages of meat and wondering if I even needed that. If needed I could probably live on my pantry stock for days if not weeks. I might not survive long during the apocalypse but I’ll survive a blizzard. I imagine most people could. Who doesn’t have a can of meat product hiding in the back of the cabinet and some extra beans somewhere? I wouldn’t even have to reach for that can of beef-a-roni until I ate through the boxes of crackers, pasta and mac and cheese. My freezer is stocked with left over pizza, homemade meatballs and iced cream. I’ve got enough food here to feed a third world family for a month.
So I stood in that line pondering dropping my basket and walking away knowing that what I had probably wasn’t worth the wait, but stood there none the less bonding with my fellow New Englanders making small talk over the pending storm, the storm that drives us together in the long lines of grocery stores and forces neighbors to chat over hills of snow while digging out the car. In these days of Facebook and Twitter and every other media outlet, we rarely chat face to face. Storm forced grocery lines are the link back to humanity at least here in New England where it snows…every year.