I made the monthly trek to Wal-Mart this afternoon to secure my supply of Nicorettes. I completely gave up cigarettes over ten years ago using this product. Instead of being weaned from nicotine, I merely switched my addiction to the gum. They keep improving the product to the point where it tastes as good as real gum and my doctor says since no tars or carcinogens are present it [probably] won't kill me. But I digress.
While in Wal-Mart I noticed the line at the pharmacy was about 150 souls deep. It looked like a Soviet-era queue where Muscovites filed into any line they spied, not knowing what was being sold -- acting on their intuition-- if there was a queue, some scarce commodity must be at the head of the line. I heard an older gentleman complaining about the wait; his wife tried to soothe his grumpiness by noting a "big storm was coming" and people "did not want to be without their meds over the weekend".
Big storm? I knew nothing of this, so I whipped out my Blackberry smart phone to check the weather. It wasn't smart enough to find a signal way up there near Southern Shores inside of a big box store (folks up there don't like cell towers; they clash with the aesthetics of the remaining maritime forest they mostly destroyed to construct their town), so I went outdoors to get a signal. I hit the weather icon on the phone's screen. And there it was. A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY displayed, scrolling in red. It warned of sub-freezing temperatures and the unimaginable prediction of 1" accumulation of snow and/or ice between the present and Saturday evening.
In these parts an inch of snow is serious business. Schools close, banks lock their vaults, and cable signals apparently freeze within the walls of their coaxial highways. Even the mighty ocean ceases to makes waves and whimpers it way out to the Gulf Stream, where the water is warm and now free of plastic bags. Mayors declare martial law and people become nervous. No one fears a Category 3 hurricane in these parts, but one or two inches of snow is well-known to result in local fatalities from starvation and isolation.
What to do? I did what any red-blooded southern man would do. I hauled butt to the adjoining Harris-Teeter, where the lot was already packed. It wasn't even 4:15 PM. I had a list in my car that I had gathered from the day before, but with a storm imminent, I knew I had to improvise and anticipate the worst. What if the roads were closed all the way into Sunday? Or, God forbid, Monday. I needed to act fast. Inventory was disappearing before my very eyes. But I had an advantage. Where I live in Nags Head, staples are things like bread and milk. In Southern Shores staples are Boars Head meats at the deli. The crowd there was large and becoming testy, fighting over the last of the organic- free-range honey glazed ham-with-no-added-antibiotics, so I quickly moved to the bread aisle.
Four loaves of bread. No…five. Not the time to be timid. Three gallons of milk. We needed some Del Monte Cut Green Beans. There were two cans left and some kid was reaching for them both. All that remained were the "no added salt" versions. My wife hates those (I have hypertension and she is trying to kill me to collect insurance). I needed to think fast. I asked if his mother had sent him to this aisle.
"Yes sir, she's in the deli laying in a supply of foie gras, so she sent me here to get green beans".
"Green beans and foie gras?" I asked.
"The foie gras is for my mom's golf caddy; he visits when daddy is on business trips. The green beans are for dad. He loves em!"
"Do you know salt is bad for you. It kills people. You don't want your father to die, do you?"
"Heck no ! My fifth-grade teacher told us salt was bad for you. Also fossil fuels, second-hand smoke, trans fats, Fox News and people called Republicans.".
"Here, take the low-salt green beans. Show your dad you care. By the way, can you point your mom out to me?" I had to see the woman who raised such a fine young man. I slipped the last two cans of "real" green beans into my cart.
Three dozen eggs and two tubes of Jimmy Dean's sage sausage and we were almost set for the storm. I thought about toilet paper, since we might be stuck for three or four days at home, but I didn't have any coupons and Reese's Cups were two-for-one.
My stock of staples filled, I moved next to the necessities. A possible two-day entrapment in the house required not just a bottle of wine, but one of those boxed wines that is the equivalent of four bottles. That would carry me through at least Monday night. Six "twin packs" of Edwards Key Lime Individual Serving pies, a case of Miller High Life, and three boxes of those pre-made wieners wrapped in pastry. And some more beer, just in case my neighbors forgot and were in need. We can't drive in one inch of snow, but we can deliver supplies to our neighbors. If we have snowshoes, L.L. Bean Gore-Tex jackets rated to -125 degrees and one of those big dogs that carry mini-kegs around their necks to guide us.
So, except for putting the chains on the tires, I'm ready for the storm. Bring on the snow.