Yes, I Smell My Shopping Carts

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Guest Author: Becky Anne Michael, Caregiver

It had been the perfect night.  As I wrapped up my fifth year of teaching, I went out to dinner at a local French restaurant with a group of students I had taught for four consecutive years.  We dressed up, took our time in traditional French style, ate escargot, reminisced, talked about the seniors’ plans, and had the perfect night.  Were my life a movie about the struggles and triumphs of becoming a teacher, it would have been the quintessential final scene, representing how far I had come as a teacher and how poised I was to live happily ever after in teacherland.

After our goodbyes, I got in the car and called A to say I was on my way home.  He asked if I could stop by the grocery store to pick up a few things and I was happy to oblige.  It was rather late, so I didn’t have a lot of time before the store closed.  I drove over and started gathering items.  However, as I grabbed a can of black beans, I noticed something.  A smell.  Perfume.  There wasn’t anyone around me, so it wasn’t a person.  I sniffed my hands.  It was on my hands.  I don’t wear perfume.  I sniffed the handle of the shopping cart.  There it was.  The culprit.  And if it was on the cart and then on my hands, it was surely on everything I had already gotten.

Already all too familiar with how intensely and easily perfume transfers from one surface to another, I knew what to do.  I grabbed a bunch of plastic bags from the produce isle and made make-shift gloves.  I replaced everything that was in my cart and continued shopping with bag-gloves as a barrier between the fragrance and the items I would bring home to my chronically-ill, hyper-sensitive partner.  I finished up, paid for my items, and started bagging them (not the easiest thing, when you are using bags as gloves).  As I did my bagging, I checked the items.  In spite of my best attempt to keep the fragrance off of the items, it was on them.  So, I called A and explained the situation.  We decided that the only thing to do was for me to return everything.  Because fragrance is so difficult to get off of one’s skin (and the fact that it was so late), there was no re-doing it.  I just had to abandon my mission and go home empty-handed.  Well, hands full of fragrance, but free of groceries. Continue reading “Yes, I Smell My Shopping Carts”

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