Grocery Store Dropout
I Worked In So Many, I Eventually Lost Count
I remember the feeling.
I remember the feeling of working inside of a rectangular box full of cold smells all day long.
I remember looking longingly out the glass front doors - the only windows to the outside - behind customers’ backs as they entered and framing their silhouettes as they left.
I remember wondering “How can I do this? How can I possibly stand on this foam mat in this tiny, 2 x 4 foot area for another seven hours?”
I remember doing it - for days, weeks, and years at a time.
I remember stocking the dairy fridge and unloading produce boxes; stacking apples and kale well above head height and hoisting hundreds of pounds of potatoes onto carts.
I remember bathroom breaks feeling like solace. Cleaning toilets feeling like respite. Schmaltzy satellite radio stations blaring the same shitty 80’s ballads hour after hour.
I remember how easy it all was.
I remember how hard it all felt.
I remember what a complete waste of time it was, sometimes.
I remember the paycheques and the sick days; how awkward it is when you know nobody can really cover for you. You’re just screwing over the other person who’s there with you every day, completing the same series of tasks and making the same memories.
I remember getting hired. I don’t remember quitting.
I remember, as I tap a card to pay for the groceries I technically can’t afford, how fortunate I am.
I remember that, despite all of my complaints, I’d do it all over again if it felt like the right move.
As I leave the store, I hold onto that memory, its flavour lingering for just a moment like medicine on the back of my tongue.