broccoli cancels chocolate


I have enough pasta, tortilla chips and frozen bagels to satisfy the whole neighborhood not to mention most ethnic groups. I could live months maybe years in my house without buying an ounce of food.

Should the apocalypse occur, my community is secure. Yet anything short of all-hell-breaking-loose leaves me panicked I’ll starve to death.

Me and the rest of you. I know this because I saw you at midnight at Wegmans before the last storm. I hope I see you again before the next one because I now consider you part of my social group. We’ve been through a lot together.

For example, no bread on the shelves. Not even manna from heaven.

You learn a lot about people’s eating habits in the dark, dreary hours before the first flakes fall. A ragged, sleep-deprived group of us are strolling the aisles in search of life -- a knowing smile, a sympathetic ear, another desperate creature ready to be trapped indoors like a wild animal.

Sure, most of us could survive on what we have at home. But the thought of not being able to make well-balanced, healthy meals to build our immune systems -- like cheese-stuffed French toast with gobs of energy-rich syrup -- is terrifying. Where is the bread!

The motley crew is getting anxious.

One guy with hair to his waist flings his arms wide as I slink by. He tilts his head back and sucks in a big breath of air. “Don’t you just love it here,” he says. “It’s so big.” He waxes poetic: “When I need space, this is where I come. Just me and Wegmans. Ahhhhh.”

He struts on, delirious.

It isn’t just bread that’s gone. A tiny mushed eggplant is left -- not enough for eggplant parm -- and not one blueberry and I hear through the grape aisle, I mean grapevine, they have almost run out of milk and not a shard of broccoli remains though there’s a green hue that reveals it’s probably been there.

We scour the leftovers, we hunt.

Lots of shelves are going bone dry. So says a customer service rep., another new best friend, who I pepper with questions about the empty bins.

“We have a very fresh product here at Wegmans,” she explains, “and when we run out, it’s gone. We don’t have a storeroom. When something is done, we have to wait for the next delivery, or the next batch to be made. We get deliveries every other day.”

“So what usually runs out?” I ask perkily, trying to get a conversation going to delay cabin fever. She thinks I’m an FVI -- Food Vanishing Investigator -- but she loosens up when I moan, “Where’s the bread?”

“Not just bread,” she says, “but milk and eggs and broccoli and chocolate.”

A-ha, I was right about the broccoli, but chocolate? The opposite ends of the food spectrum are apparently the most endangered.

“People plan to be home eating,” says my rep. “A storm is a good excuse to eat.”

Fortunately, I have company in this quest, like my poetic hippy friend who I see again in the drug section. I can’t find the right moisturizer or Tylenol Cold in case all hell does break loose. We agree it’s so frigid everyone’s skin is flaking off, and half the world is sick.

“Yeah” he says, his arms reaching outward, “but not us. We feel great, don’t we? We’ve got Wegmans. Ahhhhh.”

See you there next time?

January 17, 2018

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