No one saw me pick up the rice pudding. I was about to put it back when I stopped and wondered if that was the responsible thing to do. I’m pretty sure I’m COVID-free, and the chances of fomite transmission would be extremely low, especially in a mostly empty grocery store, and the rice pudding was in the refrigerated section which, if it didn’t kill the virus, would probably still shorten its lifespan. And, as far as I knew, there was no rule against picking up the rice pudding and putting it back. I’ve been conscientious about rules too. The store asks that everyone wear a mask, and I had my mask on, and they ask that everyone walk one way down each of the aisles, to aid in social distancing, and I’d been doing that too. Even when the aisles were empty I walked the right way down them even though it was very unlikely anyone would say anything if I went the wrong way. I doubt there was anyone reviewing the security footage and saying, “Hey, we’ve got some schmuck going the wrong way down Aisle 6!” They have bigger schmucks to fry, especially in the seafood department where schmoked schmuck is currently on sale for $1.79 a pound, but that’s another story.
A manager did once review some store security footage for me. I didn’t ask her to but I’d bought a six-pack of craft beer and when I got to my car and was unloading my groceries I noticed it was missing so I went back. The store manager wasn’t going to give away a six-pack based on my word so she went and reviewed the security footage and saw that the guy who’d been bagging my groceries had been so busy flirting with the cashier the people behind me got a free six-pack. I hope they enjoyed it.
Anyway I’d picked up the rice pudding and was about to put it in my cart when I decided to check the fat and calories, and that got me thinking that, in spite of my best efforts, I’m not getting nearly as much exercise as I used to since I’m not walking to and from the bus several times a week, and one or two trips to the grocery store every week aren’t making up for it even if I do take the long way around so I go the right way down each aisle. I also thought about whether I really was being watched. I wasn’t overly concerned about it but I remembered the time I got an email from a coworker who said, “Hey, I saw you walking home the other day. We live in the same neighborhood! Let me know if you ever want a ride.” And I wondered if my coworker saw me on one of the days when I was just walking or whether I’d been bopping along to Men Without Hats, which I sometimes did to get a little extra exercise while walking.
So after going through all this in my mind I pushed my grocery cart along to the checkout. And now I bag my own groceries. Including the rice pudding. And, yes, I will enjoy it.