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A COVID-19 Surprise

By Kay DiBianca

I don’t like grocery shopping. Let me be more specific: I hate it. But if we want to eat, I have to shop, so once a week I gird my loins, grab the grocery list and head to Kroger.

To any stranger observing my shopping forays, I would appear to be a person on a mission. I know where the products are that I need, and I’m focused on getting them in the cart and getting me out the door as quickly as possible. I’ve been known to barrel down the cereal aisle at full speed and toss a carton of oatmeal in the basket without breaking stride. I’ve even entertained friends with my efforts to minimize what I call my “grocery store quotient,” which is the number of minutes in the store divided by the number of items bought.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m polite. I don’t run over the other customers, and I smile and converse with the store personnel when I get something from the meat counter or the deli. I just hope they don’t notice my shifting my weight from one foot to the other while they’re slicing the cheese.

When COVID-19 made its appearance, my husband and I decided to have our groceries delivered in order to abide by the CDC’s recommendations. This was an unexpected benefit. What could be better than entering my wishes on a website and having the groceries magically appear at my door within a day or two? Yes, there were occasional substitutions or mistakes, but nothing we couldn’t live with. I could see this was my future.

But then one day the deliverer didn’t have a product that was absolutely required for our dinner. I had no choice, so I gloved and masked myself and rushed over to the store. As I walked into the produce section, I encountered a previously unknown grocery experience. I was suddenly overpowered by a deep sensation of nostalgia. A dopamine-infused moment of happiness amidst the carrots, onions, and potatoes.

I picked up the one item I needed and spent several minutes just walking the aisles and breathing the familiar smell of fresh-baked bread and cookies. I stood in front of the dairy section with a new appreciation for the people who load those shelves every day. I marveled at the abundance of healthy choices surrounding me. And I reconsidered what I had taken for granted for so long.

COVID-19 has also reminded me to consider how much I have to be grateful for in my writing life. Things like living in a time when writing and revising are so easy. (Remember the typewriter?) The abundance of expertise on the craft of writing that is available at my fingertips. The community of writers I’ve come to know who are knowledgeable and generous with their advice. The ability to write at will and make my own decisions about publishing. All of these things remind me of how fortunate we are to live in a time when we can put our words on digital paper and change the world.

What new eye-opening experiences have you had in this time of COVID-19? What about your writing life are you grateful for?

A new gratitude born of COVID-19 @Kdibianca #ACFWBlogs #writetips #gratitude #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet

Kay DiBianca holds an MS degree in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An avid runner, she can often be found at a nearby track, on the treadmill, or at a large park near her home. Kay lives, runs, and writes in Tennessee. She is the author of  The Watch on the Fencepost. Visit Kay on her website at https://kaydibianca.com/.

 

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5 Responses to A COVID-19 Surprise

  1. The experiment is over,
    and it was a mistake.
    You can’t just duck and cover,
    and sometimes have to take
    the losses that are hard to bear,
    the ones that make us weep;
    it doesn’t mean that we don’t care,
    but that we need to keep
    the great sustaining lifeline
    that makes of us a whole,
    and though it may seem a crime,
    and takes a heavy toll,
    there’s a strength we need to find
    to leave the blessed dead behind.

  2. Kay DiBianca says:

    Andrew,

    As always, your poetry is profound and thought-provoking. I pray your time in this crisis is filled with rest and light.

  3. PUGSmaster says:

    Kay,
    I know the feeling and share your pain. It shows how blessed we are in this country when we fuss over shopping for food, when in many places people have no money to buy it with. As a writer, I also am thankful for computers and software like MS WORD. Imagine a young writer decades ago who just fiinished the final typewritten version of a manuscript and was told all her periods were followed by two spaces when it should have been one. Let’s say It’s 60,000 words at 60 wpm to retype. That’s 1,000 minutes or 17 hours to retype with no errors. Maybe a week in the real world. Yikes!
    Now you pull up the Find and Replace command, type two blank spaces in Find, one blank space in Replace, hit Replace All and you’re off to the races. What, fifteen seconds? That’s over half a million times faster (I minored in math—ha!)

  4. Kay DiBianca says:

    Thanks for your comment, Pugsmaster!

    I am always in awe at the blessings God has poured down on us.

  5. Thanks, Kay, for really, really good questions to ponder before the Lord.