I KNOW there are worse things. I realize that in the scheme of things that register on the Richter scale of life experience, this . . . well, doesn't register. But in the clean, flourescent ballad of the lonely grocery-shopper, this was an entire verse. I bought grocery store eggs for the first time in 4 years. It was a jolting moment.
I can rationalize up a whole diagram of excuses for why I bought eggs from the store. (I need to get some baking done a.s.a.p; I spent most of the weekend already moving 2 and a half feet of snow out of my various pathways; The signs along the road that read, "eGGs $1.00" are not visible under the 7 foot snow banks at this particular point in time.) But the fact is that I just didn't plan ahead and the grocery store was really convenient.
So, there I was in the grocery store where yuppies go to get great deals, half-expecting to find a local source of eggs, but I found only a multicolored stack of styrofoam that began on the floor and towered over my head. Here is a brief summary of the thoughts that crackled and popped through my brain's circuitry as I tried to select some eggs:
1) "Okay, what does 'Grade AA' mean? Do I get the light blue styrofoam eggs, or the light green? Okay, I'm going for the blue. Blue's pretty. There are more blue ones than green or pink or white."
2) "This guy waiting for me to get out of the way must think I'm a total weirdo."
3) "Right, you're supposed to check to make sure none of them are cracked" (as I looked around to see what the other 4 egg gatherers were doing).
4) "AHHHH! White!"
5) "Hmmm . . . no cracks: good."
6) "Put it back! Put it back! This package has an egg with those small see-through speckles that mean it's like totally more than a month old!"
7) "Actually, do I really believe any one of those zillions of egg cartons are going to be fresher?"
8) "Um, no."
9) "Check the sell-by date. FEB 15 00097776389. Check."
10) "So. These are my eggs. These. Here in my hand. Blue styrofoam: soft."
I really needed a human interaction at that moment to put the smack down on the chorus of voices in my head. (But it was more likely that I would have gotten a 'bow to the ribs for blocking the door to the egg cooler for so long.) The hard part of this experience was that it was a tangible, in-my-face example of how my life is changing. We're moving. I don't have chickens. I don't have any idea where I'll be getting my eggs for the forseeable future. At the moment, lots of other things feel a wee bit out of my control. Grrr.
Like I said, I understand that there are worse things. It's just that 1) Eggs have come from my chicken coop the past 4 years; 2) Lots of people have chickens around here and I really could have found some fresh eggs from backyard hens, easy; and 3) These are the facts of my life in transition. So, while I'm rationalizing, maybe I will chalk this one up to an "anthropological expedition" to discover the modern, suburban methods of egg gathering. And it only cost a buck and nine pennies.