The Road Less Travelled

Posted by mwallach on April 18, 2011 in Happy Holidays, My Kids, New To You |

Dear That’s Life,

It is amazing how driving just a couple of miles away from The Five Towns can often take you to what seems like a completely different world. That has its pluses and its minuses. However, with Peninsula Boulevard looking more like the moon and less like a street, I’ll take any opportunity to head in the opposite direction and drive east, if for no other reason than to avoid the obstacle course.

On the last Sunday before Easter and Pesach, it did not take a rocket scientist to realize that shopping was going to be a full-fledged contact sport.  To avoid calls of unnecessary roughness, and in need of enough fruits and vegetables to last me the week, I drove to Valley Stream.  It is both so close and yet so far from the hustle and bustle of this neighborhood that it makes driving the extra couple of minutes worthwhile. If one considers, however, the abundance of parking versus there versus the parking dance (nary the shuffle?) one must budget into an errand in Cedarhurst, it may be faster that you think to shop in Valley Stream.

The other patrons in the store were also very busy but yet, were still polite and patient. My overflowing cart became quite cumbersome. 25 pounds of onions will do that, let alone the 5 gallons of milk that laid precariously atop the heap and to which I said out loud, “Please don’t fall,” as I navigated the cart through the aisles.  The cart was filled only with fruits and vegetables and I knew as I approached the checkout area that I was quickly going to become the person no one wanted to be behind. I was the supermarket equivalent to the guy at the Whitestone Bridge who holds up the lane when he realizes it was for E-ZPass and he does not have one, only to be the recipient of scornful faces and dirty looks. Maybe it was going to be like the couple last week who counted each of their twelve jars of chicken soup as one item, therefore exceeding the limit on the ‘15 items or less’ express lane by an additional 20 items, when the rest of their cart had been emptied. The disapproving faces of the patrons on line behind them not withstanding.

I stood on line and waited for all of this to happen, but it never did. People stared at my cart and the bounty that seemed to fill it, only because of its contents and not because of its girth or the time it was going to take me to check out. It did not even occur to me that this is what made my items so unusual until the person behind me finally piped up.

“Vegetarian?” he asked me, as I unloaded untold amounts of brussel sprouts from my cart. That is when I realized he must have thought I was on some kind of crazy diet, but I shook my head. “Passover,” I explained, which then resulted in an understanding “Aaah,” from a number of people behind me on line. I did not realize how many people had been noticing what I was buying. A woman behind me piped up as well. “Everyone at the gym last week was carbo-loading and eating a lot of pasta,” she said, “to get ready for Passover.” I laughed, as Passover is not the kind of marathon you need to bulk up on pasta for but yet still requires some kind of endurance. There was no need to explain that they were finishing up their pasta in an effort to be rid of it before the holiday began, but as I unloaded yet another bag of potatoes on to the belt, I promised her that Pesach had no shortage of carbs.

They had not yet asked the obvious question, however, and I knew it was coming. There are plenty of non-Jewish families who also have many children, but yet, the copious amounts of apples I was purchasing begged her next inquiry. “Are you having company?” she asked as I reached down to unload more items. Looking up, I noticed that other people on line were also waiting for my answer. They, too, were wondering the same thing. I smiled and shook my head. With a little wink and to the laughter of my growing audience I said, “Nope – this is just for my kids.”

MLW

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