Every year we sweat icicles as the mercury dips toward freezing. There is a mad dash to the grocery store to load up on necessary comestibles such as dairy products and every variety of bread from artesian bakery to those little packages of crackers that are smashed into cheese-flavored dust. And it doesn’t matter if you are lactose intolerant or have a gluten allergy — we need milk and bread, because it’s going to SNOW!
Shopping aisles turn into a mosh pit from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. A family of four is tossing half gallons and cartons of eggs over the heads of other shoppers like some deranged juggling act from “America’s Got Talent.” Spikes shoot out from the wheels of Granny’s scooter while Muffin the Chihuahua is perched on the basket, barking for lesser mortals to make way. A squad of cheerleaders are pyramiding their way over the mass of people, snagging the best products from the top shelves, then cartwheeling through the self-checkout lane.
A big guy with a bicep heart tattoo of “Dairy” is arm wrestling another dude with a “Forever Brie” tattoo over the last cheese and cracker Lunchables. Granny just forced the stock person into a display of toilet paper while reaching for the almond milk, which is just about enough to soak up the trampled “Squeeze-it’s” in Aisle 4. And it isn’t only the supplies of bread and milk that suffer, either. We might not even drink wine, but corkscrews are on sale, so let’s buy three! Shelves empty in record time, leaving behind a shattered wasteland and a single, smashed round of cheese that is probably only left because it was stuck to, then fell off, someone’s shoe.
Harried, last-minute shopping before a serious weather event might not degenerate into rival gangs fighting it out at the local convenience store over the last quart of skim milk but admit it; a revival of “West Side Story” where the Sharks and the Jets duel it out with mozzarella and cheddar sticks would be pretty cool, or at least amusing. And it is a musical I, for one, would buy a ticket to see. No, even though we do get crazy, it usually isn’t quite that bad. Still, the meme with the Bumble from “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” yelling for everyone to grab the milk and bread is an amusing way to poke fun at ourselves. And truthfully, all the frenzied behavior is not only a little amusing, but it is also actually quite practical.
It really is, when you think about it. We should pay attention to weather conditions and make certain that we have enough supplies to see us through until the roads are clear. It isn’t like it was in “pioneer days” when you shopped once a month (or once every several months) for necessary things we needed to feed ourselves. Our society today is such that we have the luxury to just pick up a dinner along the way, then go back out tonight or tomorrow for more if we need it. Stocked pantries and refrigerators aren’t something we have to worry about because, though it is a little wasteful in time and fuel, we can always go back later for what we need.
Hazardous road conditions change that. If there are several inches of ice and snow on the roads, we might regret having just gone through the drive-thru when the only thing in the fridge is one packet of mayonnaise and a half bottle of soy sauce. So, it is prudent when we know there is going to be a weather event that might prevent us from getting out to shop for food, to at least make sure we have enough food to carry us through a few days. And, of course, the go-to food seems to be milk and bread. So, just in case, it might be a good idea to buy both, along with some cereal and lunch meat. And portable stuff that we don’t have to cook, because the electric service might get interrupted as well.
So, by all means, grab the “milk sandwiches” but maybe not all of the supplies for milk sandwiches, because other people need stuff, too. In our area, a week’s worth should be plenty, and there should be enough to go around.
Besides, milk has an expiration date, and if you buy more than you need then you might be pouring it out after the snow and ice has melted. And think about your neighbors as well; if you have extra, then share. Especially if your neighbors weren’t able to get out before bad weather hit. Maybe we can share a cup of hot chocolate (or coffee) while we are waiting on all that bad weather to melt away. Besides, I have it on good authority that “milk sandwiches” are better when they are shared with friends.