March 13, 2020 was possibly THE scariest Friday the 13th of all time. In the wake of President Trump announcing the National Emergency, panic officially broke out in increasing numbers and unfortunately for me I did not yet understand the severity until I made my decision to go grocery shopping.
After my Friday shift, I walked into my usual Trader Joes on Boylston Street. I stepped on the descending escalator and picked up my basket bopping along to Lady Gaga when it happened.
I looked up and it’s as if I wasn’t in my cute little Trader Joes with all my favorite snacks anymore. I was in what felt like a zombie apocalypse movie.
I took my earbuds out as I stood in awe of what was before me.
Almost the entire store was cleared out. Sales associates were near tears, as they tried to re-stock what they had. Customers ran and shoved each other and fought over what little scraps were left.
As I tried to work out my mental grocery list I felt the anxiety monster creep up and grab hold of me. I wanted to scream “HELP!” but I knew no one would hear me. I had no choice but to fight.
So, with all the grit I had, I muscled my way through my list. I said to myself:
“Okay what’s first? Veggies? Damn basically everything is gone.” Only thing left was some tiny cucumbers which I reluctantly grabbed.
“Okay next, cheese? Yes here it is”
“Milk? Perfect! Got it”
“Fruits?” I look around. “Nope those are all gone.”
“Hummus? Come on please, please, please” I say under my breath as I rush to the isle.
“YES! Thank God!” I grab the last one. My heart pounds as I put it in my cart.
“Marinara Sauce?” I say as I spot the shelf with just a few jars left.
Another woman’s eyes lock on the jars—which ironically felt like one of those standoff moments in an old western. But thanks to my pent up speed and agility from my weekly kickboxing routine, I won that fight. She then snuffed me off and went to fight the man to my right over bread and olives.
After my victory, I had had enough. The panic in the air was making me dizzy and I figured I got enough of the basics to last me with what I had at home for at least a week or two. I made my way through the frantic, running customers, to checkout and paid for my items, I thanked the clerk and I got the hell out.
When my feet hit the sidewalk I shook off the anxiety and suddenly I could breathe again. Never in my life had I been so grateful to exit a grocery store.
I made it out alive. I don’t know how, but I did.
The coronapocalypse unfortunately still lives on, so if you are planning a Trader Joes trip, please be careful. Remember to practice healthy habits and remember that you are NOT the only one in need, so get enough for maybe a few weeks not a few years. AND please thank the store associates. They are true war heroes and deserve recognition and appreciation for all they have done and continue to do for us during this rather terrifying time.