Rounding the end of the soup aisle – shopping cart heavy with weekly accoutrements – I swerve deftly past an older woman who blurts, “I’ve been to four Shop-rites already today, and I just can’t find stuffed potatoes!” Taken aback and out of earshot, I mumble under my breath, “That’s dedication; I guess she really loves stuffed potatoes…” “Yeah, really!” chuckles a nearby shopper, “I would have given up after the second store.”
Shopping before a weather event in New Jersey is akin to preparing for the apocalypse. Any wintery mix qualifies as news, and anything over an inch on the ground is reason to begin speculation on delayed openings and school closings. No matter that living in this populous state ensures the vast majority of us can walk to a nearby store for provisions in minutes. An event such as this – timed perfectly to thwart legions of commuters and school buses – connects all of us in one glorious, commonality. By the time I go for my usual groceries at midday, the shelves are nearly clear of meat, bread, milk, and eggs in grand anticipation. The chatter at the checkout line is all about the weather and how ridiculously crowded the shopping is – never mind that we are the ones who are making it just so.
My husband is Canadian; he had one snow day in his entire childhood school career. Here in Jersey, a surprise snow day is part of the beauty of every winter. You just never know.