New York Note:
Helping Hands
24 August 2018

ΒΆ When I did a big shop at Fairway last week, I forgot to buy bread. “I’ll just run in and out,” I thought, imagining a quick trip across the street.

It sounds easy, running in and out of Fairway; people do it all the time. They stand on the express line with two or three items in their handbaskets, or perhaps just a baguette in their hands. The express line usually moves pretty quickly, but there’s no getting around that one is in Fairway, an overcrowded dodgem-car souk out of Dante. Quick trips may actually occur, early in the morning or late at night, but I wouldn’t count on one.

So the bread got company on the list in my head, and the visit was postponed for over a week. I wasn’t planning on a big shop, but somehow my bill came to seven dollars short of the free-delivery cutoff. This was really unexpected. I hadn’t separated the things (such as ice cream) that I would have to carry home if I splurged on delivery. Nor was I up to running back a few steps for a piece of cheese that would pay for the delivery. So I carried the stuff home myself. 

I had bought a lot of liquids (a quart of milk, a dozen lemons, two bottles of Planters peanut oil, and of course that ice cream), so the bags were heavy from the start. Since I no longer have the stamina to carry heavy things for an entire minute without moaning, mere heaviness soon gave way to crucification. It took about four minutes to reach the building’s front door. The nicest of the doormen asked me if I needed help, and for once I said yes. I thought that he would take the bags to the elevator, which would be a nice break, but in fact he took them to my front door. Was I ever grateful!

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