In the cart next to mine was a carton of Lactaid milk, a beef and broccoli frozen dinner, and two jugs of Liquid Plumr.  

The girl behind me had two carrots, a head of lettuce, and some bread. 

The boys in front of me had $192 worth of three cases of Dr. Pepper, two bags of red hots, six frozen pizzas, some BBQ Lays, 12 shamrock cupcakes, one greeting card, and an empty Dasani bottle. 

I know it was $192 because they only* had $175 to spend on groceries. 

I know they only had $175 because I waited ten minutes for the kid in the sweatpants and button down shirt, bloodshot eyes and bedhead to text his dad for the rest of the money. 

Maybe you don’t need the greeting card, I thought. 

But maybe you do, since asking a parent for junk food money at 11 PM seems like something for which you send a hand-written thank you. 

In all, I waited 25 minutes from the middle of the baking goods aisle to the checkout because we are waiting for a snowstorm that no one is prepared for, least of all, apparently, college students. 

I listened to music and my phone was charged and I knew what I was in for, but something was off. I was off. I just never got into things today. 

It takes me about 100 pages to get into a new book. I’m either hung up on the memory of the last one, or easily distracted because I don’t care about this world yet. If, after 100 pages, I’m still at struggle bus station waiting for a ride, I know it’s going to be a rough read. 

There are exactly two books I’ve given up on at that threshold. 

  1. The Collected Short Stories of Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I’ll save you the suspense - every story ends with, “And that’s when I knew I was actually dead all along.”)
  2. Watership Down by Richard Adams (Which purports to be a nice story about bunnies in a warren, and is actually terrifying. As is the cartoon movie, and I’m not sure which one ruined the experience for me first.)

The point is, my stubbornness doesn’t usually allow for a way out. I push through terrible books. I wait in obscenely long lines. I get up and I deal with it being eight degrees in March because that is what is happening and when it’s done I can read my new book in the April sun. 

But something about today. 

We are waiting for a snowstorm. And all I can think about are all the ways I could ditch out before 100 days. Where is the way out from this day and all the cold and the general stuck-ness that fills me with numb?

That, and what could that guy be planning with all the Liquid Plumr?


*This, to me, is an absurd amount of grocery money for a twenty-year old, and I desperately wanted to ask them if that was a weekly allotment, and if it was intended to cover more than these cases of soda and pizzas.