A tidbit of Grinch, and an antidote

I have procured the provisions for the Dahlgiving on Saturday, to celebrate Steve's birthday.

I hit up Trader Joe's for the brined bird, 19#, pre-made gravy, potatoes, and stuffing makings.  Somehow Trader Jo-Jo's vanilla sandwich cookies and peppermint chocolate sandwich cookies,  leapt into my cart, along with shortbread cookies with chocolate sea caramel toppings.

I experienced my first Unhappy holiday moment.

I fell in the produce section of the store- a cherry tomato had been liberated from its packaging, and a graceless ME managed to find it with my shoe.  I went down like the Titanic.  On to my titanium and silicone knee.  It was a) embarrassing, and b) scary and c) painful.

The fall was followed by a very ridiculous return to the upright position that involved making a tent shape and walking myself back toward my feet.  I have to say that I was afraid to put weight on the knee- it is, after all re-constituted with screws and glue.  It is already a clunker, requiring some sort of revision.  Truth told- I was afraid that it might have popped apart.  But I am okay. Battered, not broken.

What made me sad was that my co-shoppers, and the Trader managers sitting in the elevated office did not make one move- to help, express concern, or even to clean up the smeared tomato.  People were thick in that little corner of the store.  I made eye contact with several women as I wobbled to my feet, and people actually looked away.  I guess they were embarrassed FOR me.  I wiped away the tomato so no other person would suffer indignity and pain.  Then I went right to the check out.

I have tried to justify this insular response by thinking that I look fit, and did not seem incapacitated.  But a word costs nothing, and takes just a second.

It created a reflective moment.  Would I show concern for someone similarly injured?

I hope so.

Indifference diminishes our humanity.  If the hustle of shopping and cooking insulates us from kindness, or in holiday parlance, keeps us from goodwill toward mankind- our eyes are on the wrong goal.

Hot baths have been just the ticket- for my aches and pains, and for some contemplative time. I am about to embark on a month of pin-point focus on little kindnesses I can do.  "Can I help you?" is a good start.  Holding a door, liberating a shopping cart, grabbing a top shelf item for a shortie, letting a tiny order skip in front of a big one- there are many opportunities for spreading cheer in the most basic daily routine.  No humbug for me.

I am going to hustle less, celebrate more, and most of all- avoid Joe's.  Not the store, the cookies. I am already fluffy in addition to clumsy.


I think I will return to my native stores, Dominick's and Jewel, where the wider aisles allow me to annex my body to a cart, and the produce managers wrangle migratory tomatoes in the interests of public safety.  My orthopedic constitution will not be sacrificed for a brined bird.

And all of you:  be careful out there.  And kind.

More tomorrow on my upcoming Dahlgiving Day.  BIG stuff is happening!!! Stay tuned.





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  • Janet, I feel so bad that no one helped you at Trader Joe's. I was once in a step class and fell and no one missed a step, a couple of woman looked at me, but didn't help. If I had been at TJ's I would have helped you up. It's a sad world out there when someone falls and no one can take the time to help you. I know that you've had a couple of rough months with things, hope it doesn't change your outlook on the Holidays. Just think of your grandson and the joy of family.

  • Oh Janet, this also happened to me entering a 'tom thumb' (safeway in texas)not one person looked at me, helped me, asked if I was okay! I was so embarassed! This was last year and still when ever I enter that store I get the chills. It was awful. I only needed a few things, returned to my car and sat there and cried. But as my mom always said, 'this to, shall pass' Hang in there.

    hugs, deb

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    This reminds me of the saddest day at my work a few years ago. I remember when I tripped on the threshold when I was VERY pregnant - went down face first and slammed my palms on the floor in front of me to stop from falling on my stomach. It was terrifying. But more terrifying was it was during the lunch hour and the hallway was jammed with people. No "are you okay" no help up, no one even stopped. A woman, 7 months pregnant on all fours after falling and no one gave a crap.

  • Janet,
    I am so sorry that no one came to your aid. Speaking for myself, I find that my natural reaction is to help when I see someone in distress. I would have helped you.

  • Janet and other commenters - Your stories of bad falls are a great reminder to all of us to act with care and humanity to people in distress, especially with winter bearing down on us. Posted by someone who has also had her share of falls over the years (and they do stay in your memories, don't they?).

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