The Girl on the Grocery Store Floor

It’s a Saturday afternoon, and maybe you are popping into Wegmans on a mission to obtain that dratted half-gallon of milk that you need for tomorrow morning’s cereal or you are making your weekly pilgrimage, pushing an overflowing cart. Suddenly, out of nowhere, you see her crouched like a ball in the middle of the seasonal aisle, knees tucked into her chin, looking so small that at first it’s hard to tell if she is an adult or a child. Is that a three-ring binder spread open at her feet, pages askew? What is going on? Her toes are pointed forward at the white pages with black lettering, and you can see that some of the lines are highlighted in bright green. She appears to be rocking gently back and forth ever so slightly. The motion is almost imperceptible. Her lips are moving wordlessly… she is either reading or conversing with herself. It’s one of the more odd sights you’ve seen at the grocery store, but then, people are weird. You shrug. Maybe the notebook is a collection of recipes that she is consulting to figure out which ingredients she is still missing. Wait a minute… the shortly cropped hair, the heavy-framed glasses… it’s the same young woman you spotted fifteen minutes ago pacing to and fro before the shelves of bread, lifting one loaf, then another. Her face would flush, then blanch, and just when it looked like her decision was made and she was halfway to the next item on her list, she would turn back, practically sprinting, fling the loaf of bread in her hands back among its brethren as if it was kryptonite, and begin the entire process again. It was so bizarre… and yet it barely registered with you. Just in the same way, the slight, quivering girl on the floor of the grocery store is barely a blip on your radar. You notice the green highlighting, a quick flash of fluorescent lighting off the metal ring of the binder, the funny, inaudible way her thin lips are working. She notices you not at all, as you maneuver your cart around her binder, and then you are off again. Milk… milk… there it is! How fast can you get through the checkout line? It’s Saturday afternoon, and there’s probably going to be a wait. Fifteen minutes later, you’re in your car and on your way home. There’s so much to do this weekend! It’s going to be great! No work until Monday! At Wegmans, a girl with a binder paces the racks of bread.

"Fresh Bread on Local Market," by Vera Kratochvil. CC0 1.0. Wikimedia Commons.
“Fresh Bread on Local Market,” by Vera Kratochvil. CC0 1.0. Wikimedia Commons.

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