Of course, I thought I’d only ever enjoy that thrilling experience vicariously through my characters. Funny how things change when a pandemic hits, and the government issues stay at home orders.
Suddenly, every trip outside of the house for essential items has to be planned out to the most minute detail, as if one is plotting to pull the job of a lifetime.
That’s exactly what happened at The House on the Hill. Ever since we got the stay at home order, I had this morning at 7:00am circled on my calendar for the big adventure.
My research told me that my local supermarket is well stocked when it first opens in the morning, crowds are light, and bakery items like bread get delivered on Monday.
My plan was to pick up enough supplies to not have to go back for at least a month. That meant planning meals, making lists of foods that could last longer on the shelves, anticipating what other needs I could have over the next month, and then making sure I had room to put all the loot if the job went as planned.
Then I needed a plan to hit the store as efficiently as possible. I wanted to be the first one there when the doors opened. I had to know in what aisles my must have items were located. I needed a set time limit on how long I could be in the store and still feel safe.
I also needed supplies. A mask and gloves were essential. As were clothes that could be burned if it came down to it. I wanted a pair of backup gloves, too, in case my original pair somehow got damaged. And there had to be a dependable vehicle.
I couldn’t find any blueprints of the store online, but that was okay. I knew the layout like the back of my hand since I shopped there so frequently. I did my research, and there were nothing online stating that this store was requiring shoppers to move in a systematic, aisle by aisle fashion like some others were doing. The articles did say, however, that the store would be limited to 75 customers at a time.
So I drew up my plan. I knew the quickest route to pick up everything on my list, while also limiting contact with up to 74 people.
Then I picked out my outfit. It had to be clothes I didn’t normally wear, so I wouldn’t miss them if I decided they’d been compromised during the job. I went with some old, fat guy jeans that really had to be cinched with a belt. There was an oversized shirt that could be tucked into my jeans. Old shoes and a ratty wool hat rounded out my ensemble.
Nothing too flashy that would leave an impression on anyone. I’d just blend in with the masses and not be at all memorable.
I tossed and turned in bed last night as I ran through the plan again and again. There’s no such thing as being too prepared in my book.
As planned, I was the first customer to arrive. I made small talk with a couple of the people who arrived after me.
Nothing that they would remember, but I also didn’t completely ignore them, which would have stood out in their memories if anyone had questioned them about me later.
Once the doors opened, it was on. Straight to the produce aisle before anyone else could breathe on the fresh vegetables. Then over to the meat department since my extensive menu depended on what was available.
Luckily, I hit the pasta aisle next because it was slim pickings there. I knew a few boxes could last a long time on the shelf and supply several meals, so I was thrilled to be able to score a couple. With enough sauce to go with them, of course.
My research was spot on with the bread, too. Such a selection. And I didn’t forget the cats. I bought a case of food, a jug of their favorite treats, and a giant bag of litter (even though I already had a couple of bags at home).
Once I had everything on my list, I got the hell out of there. Loaded up the RAV and sped home, making sure that I hadn’t picked up any tails in the process.
Now I just need to keep a low profile until this all blows over, and it’s safe to show my face around town again…
Has going out for essential items brought a whole new sense of adventure to your life?