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  • Jimmy Broccoli

Gloria: She Bags My Groceries - A Poetic Expression

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

For a few important moments, I’d like to talk about Gloria. She is among my favorite people and I barely know her. She bags groceries at the grocery store that is walking distance from my apartment (but I still drive there).

One month after my friend and roommate died, I moved to an apartment in an antique, historic, artsy neighborhood. On that first day, during that first hour, I sat defeated on the uneven ancient wooden floor of my living room, listening to the emptiness as it surrounded me. I sat alone because I was afraid to call anyone - I knew nobody would know what to say and I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Grief is a bitch, like that – it lies and tells you not to reach out to others when it’s absolutely the thing you need to do.

With no better plans, I got into the car and drove 2 minutes to the grocery. I’m one of a handful of people I know who really enjoys going to the grocery store. I frequently walk down most aisles during a visit, even when I know what I need is on Aisle 6. I’m sure this is some kind of neurological disorder – but I figure, if so, just add it to the list. LOL.

So I get to the checkout counter with a few items and the young woman bagging my groceries says, “This feels like wine, is it white or is it red?”. I paused because the bottle, like most wine bottles, has a label that covers less than 50% of the clear bottle – if the contents are whitish or a transparent yellow, it’s white wine. If the contents are red or some shade of purple or the glass is opaque, it’s red wine. The question confused me. After too long a pause, I answered, “it’s white”. She replied, “I love white wine. Hope you have a fun evening”. It took me a few moments to realize Gloria (I looked at her nametag) is blind. I thought it strange the cashier pounded the items onto the secondary conveyor belt down to Gloria like she was mad at every innocent can of vegetarian beans or defenseless box of jasmine rice (I just figured the cashier was angry and aggressive) – afterwards I realized why she did this.

It only took a short minute (if that) for Gloria’s comments and positive attitude to interrupt my negative thought patterns. Her words were my “interrupter”. She was my rubber band snapping against my wrist or the shocking ice cube I clutch with a closed fist to bring me back to the present. She made me smile on a day when smiles seemed impossible.

I go to the grocery at least three times a week. It’s 5 months later and I know, if she is working, Gloria is at checkout counter #11 (the last lane, next to the international food aisle).

I will always wait in line for checkout counter #11 when Gloria is working. It only took a couple of visits for her to remember my voice and we have amazing – though always (mostly) brief – conversations. A few times we’ve made people behind me in line angry. I, in a very for real way, want to know how she is doing and she (for some reason) finds my life interesting.

I’m glad you took a few important moments to read about Gloria. She bags groceries at the store by my apartment. She is one of my favorite people – and I barely know her. She is 50 shades of amazing and my life is better with her in it.

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