“We don’t do delivery anymore,” said the Forced To Stay Gnome For The Holidays Toilet Paper Christmas Shirt but in fact I love this exhausted woman at the checkout. “You leave anything at your own risk,” said the understandably gruff man at the soi-disant “customer service” desk. I had arrived at the store in the morning (dressed in the Great Outdoors clothes that I keep by my front door, chosen for their unspeakable ugliness in the hope that that would discourage actually spending any time out there), but after hours spent trying to find gelatine leaves and xylitol, as I left a queue of tidily spaced people waiting to be let in, one by one, stretched all the way to the next block.
I was clearly going to have to manage the Forced To Stay Gnome For The Holidays Toilet Paper Christmas Shirt but in fact I love this nine grocery bags, one less liftable than the next, all the way home. I carried them a third of a block by the simple expedient of putting a brace of them in the crook of my arm, like HM The Queen’s handbag—three in one hand, three in the other, and one carried like a baby. When two of them split open almost immediately, I realized that I was going to have to run a relay race down an eerily deserted University Place: shuttling four or five bags at a time, leaving those on a stoop halfway down the block, and then running back to collect the others, and on and on. It took me an hour to get five and a half blocks, and I may now have a second hernia rumbling.