Friday, October 10, 2008

Stephanie Vs. Gravity

Okay, admit it, half of you are already laughing, having only read the title of this post. You're picturing a spectacular pratfall, in which I slip into a non-gracefall pirouette down a staircase (carrying an armload of potentially messy objects, of course). Well, sorry to disappoint you, but although gravity certainly had an unfair advantage, I actually won this round.

Last night, I needed to go grocery shopping at HomePlus, which is about a mile away from my apartment (at the most). It was the inaugeral shopping trip for my new grocery bag, which my thoughtful parents sent me from the US after reading about a few of my experiences with plastic grocery bags. To play it safe, knowing that I needed to buy several things, I also wore my backpack (it's pretty small, but it can still cram a surprising amount of groceries).

Have you ever noticed the interesting optical illusion that groceries like to pull? They're downright deceitful! In the cart, it doesn't look like you have very much, but when you get up to the checkout line, you look like you're stocking up for a three-month Arctic expedition. Naturally, that happened to me last night (darn those sneaky groceries!). I quickly discovered that there was no way, short of hiring the services of Hermoine Granger (that's a Harry Potter reference for the two people who didn't get it), that I was going to fit all those groceries into the huge new bag. Or even the huge new bag and the backpack!

Being a born problem-solver (being a teacher also helps one gain these skills), I figured out that I could save tremendous room by carrying the cereal box, rather than putting it in the bag. I was concerned that the cramming strategy might make war casualties out of my golden kiwis, so I opted to place them inside the small plastic container I had purchased to keep my popcorn in. The container, naturally, did not fit in either bag, so that needed to be hand carried as well. I discovered that the large bottle of drain cleaner could hang very nicely from my right handlebar (it had a handle), while the crammed backpack could sit on my back, and the even-more-crammed grocery bag (please note that it was ginormous at this point) could swing from my left handlebar. That left the big box of Corn Flakes and the plastic container (filled with my precious kiwis) to be hand-carried.

I soon discovered (it took all of about two steps) that this plan was not going to work. There was no way that I could hold onto both the cereal and the container, as well as my handlebars. Going "hands free" was not an option either, owing to the grocery bag, which was determined to do my steering for me. It was at this point that, feeling a bit Idina Menzel-ish, I decided to "try defying gravity" (that's a Wicked reference for anyone who didn't get it).

I put the plastic container, which is about 8"x6"x6", under the backpack. In this way, it was tightly shoved against the top of my back. Then I was able to hold the cereal with one hand and the handlebars with the other. This, apparently, irritated gravity to no end. Gravity was determined to claim both the plastic container and me, and we fought the entire way home. I was grunting worse than Monica Seles, but I somehow made it home with both the groceries and myself intact. I didn't fall or drop anything until I burst through my door and tripped over Jasper.

I guess I may have won the battle, but gravity still had the last laugh.

No comments:

"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"