It’s strange how what used to be ordinary things have now become quite an adventure.
Take grocery shopping, for instance. I must admit, I was not the most organized shopper pre-pandemic. I’d spend five minutes in the parking lot adding coupons to my supermarket app before meandering through the aisles looking at three different lists on my phone and backtracking a few times so I didn’t forget anything. Half the time (ok, probably more than half the time) I’d forget my reusable bags.
But now, well, now I approach grocery shopping like I’m preparing for battle. I spend a couple of hours planning meals for at least a week and crafting my shopping list in a word document that I’ve organized into tables based on the layout of the aisles in the store. Once I’m sure I’ve got it all, I print it out to take into the store with me to avoid having to use my phone.
Next, I gather my equipment. I take only what is absolutely necessary: mask, paper list, travel-size hand sanitizer, keys in one pocket, phone in the other. I no longer take the reusable bags as half the stores won’t let you use them. And I can’t use my reading glasses anymore either, because of the mask, but I’m not spending time reading labels anymore, anyway.
Then, I enter the store. The mission is to get in and out as quickly as possible while keeping at least six feet from other shoppers. It’s like navigating a mine field. I choose my store now based not on their selection but how many shoppers they draw. I no longer worry about whether things are on sale. And very few things are now, anyway.
Once I’ve gotten through the store and filled my cart, I head to the register. I use my phone to pay when I can (or the credit card I’ve designated as my “use with the humans” card that no longer lives in my wallet) and I use hand sanitizer before I take it out of my pocket.
Then, it’s off to home to go through the gauntlet of washing my hands, unloading the groceries, washing my hands, throwing the clothes I was wearing into the washer, washing my hands, and moisturizing my hands. Then, I go for a walk to decompress from the experience.
Like I said, quite the adventure. It’s even an adventure to write about it. And I’m not nearly as skilled as the writers of the books in The Far, Far Away Adventure SF Bundle, curated by Kevin J. Anderson. WMG has three books in this bundle: The Recovery Man’s Bargain: A Retrieval Artist Novella by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Lake Roosevelt: A Thunder Mountain Novel by Dean Wesley Smith, and Snot-Nosed Aliens: Stories from Pulphouse, edited by Dean Wesley Smith.
Read more about that here.
While you’re there, be sure to check out the two other StoryBundles WMG has books in right now: The Mysterious Women Bundle (Protectors by Kris Nelscott and Fiction River Presents: Mysterious Women, edited by Gwyneth Gibby) and the Young Adult Charity MegaBundle (Tiffany Tumbles by Kristine Grayson). Click here for the former and here for the latter.
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Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must gear up for another grocery store adventure.
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.