Saturday, October 03, 2020

The Grimace

Do you know the face you make when your body is working really hard? The one that you show as you give one more push, one more bunch of energy to lift or push something. It's kind of a breathy grimace, you bear your teeth as if you are facing off a rabid dog or an unmasked shopper. It's a carnivorous look, even on the face of a vegetarian. I am familiar with it and luckily it's covered by my mask when I'm at the gym. I think otherwise I might scare skinny people who don't eat much but don't want to be eaten either.

Well, yesterday we were grocery shopping and, as is our habit, Joe goes first and I unload the basket onto the belt that takes it to the cash register. I had emptied out the bottom of the cart and had moved on to the upper basket. This one is harder for me because I have to reach farther and sometimes pick up things just with two fingers on the plastic bag. The whole process is something I like to do. 

For me, the chores that I like are the ones with obvious results. A pile of dirty dishes on the counter turns into clean dishes put away in the cupboard. A bunch of ingredients turns into a casserole, made with enough to freeze. And the cart is the same, a full cart becomes an empty cart. Then I move back and push the cart through the lane so that it can be loaded again when the bill is paid.

So back to the woman behind me. She watched me as I unloaded the cart, I was struggling a bit to keep up with the belt which whipped stuff away quicker than I could load it. When I got to the top basket there was something just out of my reach, I tried two or three times, to reach it and just couldn't. I looked up and saw that grimace on her face. He was using every bit of energy to just let me alone and just let me finish. She looked as if she was in some pain.

Finally, I reached the item and put it on the belt. Done.

I looked back at her and her face had relaxed, she said, "You don't know how hard it was for me to just let you get it. I could have so easily got it for you."

I said, "You don't know how glad I am that I was just let be and just let do the tasks that were set for my hands."

She smiled, "I divorced a man that helped me too much, it made me feel stupid and small, and the expectation of gratitude was overwhelming. I can't do that to someone else."

"Thanks," I said, "Isn't freedom wonderful."

She smiled but her eyes were bleeding tears.


Myrthe said...

"Her eyes were bleeding tears" -

are you sure you're not a poet?

Nice lady. Since I've gotten a handbike I've been doing more grocery shopping with the wheelchair/handbike, and it's a lot of fun to get things myself even if it takes a lot of effort. It's like every product is a challenge and every time I manage to pick it up, I get a dopamine hit.

ABEhrhardt said...

The other day it felt good to ASK my husband for help. I had a plastic covered container slip off the refrigerator shelf when I pushed something else. It fell, and the lid popped off, and half my dinner was now on the floor.

I swore. He said, "Do you need help?" I said, "Yes for this one - it would be really hard for me to pick it up." Which shows our whole relationship - me do it if I can!

I can really feel for you - and that nice woman. It's very satisfying to be an adult.