Friday, December 02, 2022

shopping, memories, and gum

One of the weird things about having a job without the standard 9-5 jobs is that you get to do things at times where normal working folk are...well, working.

I went to the grocery store today at one in the afternoon. Normal grocery store hijinks ensued (a mix of "Hey, raspberries are only 50 cent a container?" and "Why is the queso fresco in with the store brand cheddar and not with the international cheeses?"), and I moved into checkout before something interesting happened.

After unloading the groceries onto the conveyor, my eyes settled on the gum area. Gum designers (if there is such a thing) really love the colors blue and green. I guess they are the mintiest colors? But then I saw one of the few holdouts: purple packaging.

I immediately grabbed the grape gum and was simultaneously hit by a deep wave of nostalgia, and I was seven years old again. My father was in the air force, and I grew up (through first grade, anyway) on a base in Germany. For some reason, the base grocery store didn't stock bubble gum. I dunno why. Maybe President Ford had a bad gum experience or something.

My grandmother would send over packages every so often, and, when we were very lucky, she'd throw in a couple of box of Bubble Yum, mixed between regular and grape. It was a treat, and we would, while it lasted, be kings of the school yard...rare Bubble Gum could be traded for favors. During first grade, I even got in trouble for running a little bit of a Bubble Yum black market.

I blink my eyes, and I'm back in the grocery store line. Suddenly, I realize my nostalgia was for a minor event that happened over four decades before...and I feel really, really old. Then I look around me, and I realize 90 percent of the shoppers are senior citizens, and now I don't know what to think at all. I pay for my groceries and wander off to find my car.

The grape gum (not Bubble Yum, by the way) tasted more like the color purple than an actual fruit, and it list all flavor in about seventeen seconds. The nostalgia, though?

That stuck around.

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