Thursday, 05 July 2012
For Real – Part 1
By Johna Ferguson
I can’t really believe it happened. Especially to me. What was to be just a quick trip to the grocery store turned into a nightmare for so many.
My youngest son, his young daughter and I were sent to the nearby supermarket to get a few more items for lunch - not many, just bread, lettuce, mustard and orange juice. He parked his big van in the provided outdoor parking lot, grabbed his young daughter from her car seat in back and directed me into the grocery store. I was not familiar with his city as I was just visiting for the week.
I was more interested in the people who lived in this big city. They dressed so smartly considering the casual apparel we wore at the stores in my little town. I actually paid no attention to where we were going; I was enjoying wheeling the grocery cart with my smiling, drooling granddaughter propped in front of me.
We wandered around and finally found all the things on the list and headed to the check out lines. My, I thought to myself, groceries are certainly more expensive in a big city for the one bag was over $20.00.
He picked-up his daughter and the grocery bag and left me to carry the big jug of orange juice. He told me to replace the grocery cart where we had first gotten it before I headed out to the car. He and his daughter would go first so he could get her loaded in her car seat. As I look back on it, I wish I’d thought to get my bearings but of course I hadn’t.
After he left, I looked around to find a spot to park the cart but nothing looked familiar. In fact, I didn’t have the faintest idea where to go. I looked at other shoppers and most were wheeling their carts out to cars but then I noticed there were entrances on two sides of the check-out area.
I headed to the closest one and looked around for my son’s car, but that area didn’t look at all familiar. I went back in and then out the other side’s sliding doors but I didn’t see the car or any place to put the cart. I decided best to head back into the store and ask a clerk where to put the big cart.
When I explained the situation, she said I’d probably gotten the cart on the mezzanine where everyone picked them up. She pointed in the direction I could find an elevator to get up there.
I didn’t remember taking an elevator, but then my mind was not on the direction we took; I had just been jabbering to my granddaughter.
As I stood waiting for the elevator to the mezzanine, lots more people came - I guess from outside to get carts to start their grocery shopping spree. When the elevator doors finally yawned wide open, I dashed in with my cart for I could imagine my son wondering where the hell I’d gone.
When the car stopped and I rushed out I found that I wasn’t on the mezzanine but obviously a floor above for there were children’s clothing items all around hanging on racks. I headed back to the elevator, but this time there was a line of families waiting to go up or down.
I carefully pushed the down button and when that arrow lit up I again hurried into the car. One family followed with three children, one almost screaming. After the door shut one boy, maybe five, started pushing the elevator buttons so first the car started up a little, then down some and finally didn’t move at all. We were stuck.
I really wondered what my son must be thinking so I took my cell phone out of my jeans pocket, but obviously it wouldn’t work in that dense a cement enclosed spot. Luckily there was an emergency bell on the car panel and I jabbed it several times.
A bell rang loudly and I was sure someone would come immediately, but we just stood there waiting. Finally a voice from somewhere told us the car was stuck but someone would soon be there to get it going again.
I have terrible claustrophobia, and that plus the three children now all screaming sent me into such a tizzy that I guess I fainted. Next thing I remember is being wheeled on a gurney to some room.
A doctor had been called to check on me, but found nothing wrong other than I’d experienced a panic attack. He said I must rest a few minutes and then I could get up and go, but someone from the store would stay with me until I was okay.
When I felt normal I tried calling my son again on his cell phone but no answer. I then called my home in another city to tell my husband what was happening, but there was no answer there either. I really wondered what was going on.
Part 2 tomorrow
[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]