Thursday, July 28, 2011
A Quick Stop
"Think I'll just run in to..."You fill in the blank. Having lived all of my life in the South, I'm not sure if this is a phrase we use only around these parts. Today, as I ran into a home improvement store to pick up a few hooks, I realized way too much of my time is spent running. I wish I could tell you my running is the healthy kind involving athletic shoes and clothes that have armour in their name. My running involves too many steps for the payoff.
Like half of the nation, the summer here has been less than refreshing. The month of July hasn't just entertained high temperatures, it offered them a package deal if they booked a month's stay. How amazing that we're thankful for a high of 90 degrees. And humidity here feels like melted molasses. We're all wearing the lightest cotton garments we can legally get away with, rushing into air-conditioning and trying to stay sweet like our tea instead of edgy. I did, however, post a comment on Facebook saying it's so hot my dog is begging to be potty trained.
This morning, I took the dog the groomer. That was all I had on my to-do list and I was content with that. After two days of running all over town, from morning until sunset, I was looking forward to a day at home. Slow-paced, quiet and most of all, cool. But then, that pesky phrase invaded my serenity. "Think I'll just run in to..."
"Running into" isn't a simple process. It involves, lowering the windows of the car just enough for air-flow, but not enough for a coat hanger to snake toward the lock. (Although who would spend that much effort in this heat?) Next come the windshield shades. As I twist them open being sure to avoid maiming, I wrestle them under sun visors and behind the rear view mirror. Make sure I have my cell phone. Make sure I have my regular glasses to switch with my sun glasses once inside. And, most importantly, make sure I have the keys before hitting the lock button on the door and slamming it. This last step could be repeated like an obsessive maniac. No husband wants to come unlock the car in this weather. Of course, when returning from the store, all of these steps are reversed and repeated.
What ever happened to home delivery? The 1950's were full of delivery men and I remember a few entering our kitchen door. Dairy products were placed in the fridge after the milkman checked to see what we were out of. The dry cleaning was picked up and hung in the hall coat closet. The Fuller Brush Man showed us new and improved cleaning products. Big jugs of bottled water were delivered and replaced on a tilting stand. Department stores would freely deliver any purchases my mother made. Pharmacies brought drugs and tissues. Groceries would even deliver for a small charge. And, as kids, our favorite was the Charlie Chip man who exchanged large cans of greasy, salty chips to accompany PB&J lunches. Running errands was a option.
I once saw a plaque that read "If a mother's place is in the home, why am I always in the van?" Good question now that my kids are adults and on their own. I have to admit, the errands I often run are not essential but extra. I choose to run out for a few things that I certainly could live without and might be better off in the process. I find it takes a real effort for me to leave my purse on the chair and resist the urge to head to the store. I don't know if it's advertising that has brainwashed me into being such a consumer or my need to feel like I have everything I need at hand, but I couldn't be the only one stuck in this rut. Running errands can become a full-time occupation. I'm thinking of quitting. Of spending three full days without turning on the car engine. But, before I do, I think I'll just run in for...