Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The long hot summer vol. two: walking in a grocery wonderland

The continuing chronicles of surviving the 2012 heat wave without air conditioning.
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The hot trek across the parking lot ends with the parting of the pneumatic doors and an orgiastic blast of cold air.  The sensation is two-fold, with the first being obvious enough. The second is a deeper chill as the sheath of perspiration on your skin reacts to a sharply increased rate of evaporation. The effect evokes a subtle shudder.

The air. The blessed cool air. The air in the grocery store is cooler than any other air anywhere. After all, this store is brand new. Units are fully charged and undoubtedly the most efficient model available. So so so cool.

You walk slowly, much slower than is appropriate. You linger in the bakery department with no intention of buying anything, but just to bask in the brightness of the gleaming plastic containers of brownies and cookies. Happy yellow daisies top each lemon cake.

You reach into the featured meats case with absolute belief in the exclamation points on the sale sign. You roll by the seasonal display and sigh, then linger before the wedges of better cheese arranged just so in their special display case, miles away from the dairy department with its bags of shredded mozzarella. You select a brick of Fontina.

The aisles are a perfect grid, although you are not so well behaved, weaving through them in a haphazard pattern. You pass over the mundane rows of pet food and instead turn down the canned soup aisle in order to channel your inner Warhol.

Frozen is a grand corridor, lined in steel and glass. You select nothing, but smile at the promise of effortless food nonetheless before spilling out into the land of milk and honey.

When you reach the end of the refrigerated cases full up with tubs of margarine and Cool Whip, however, a switch inside you toggles. Your legs and arms suddenly feel bare in the manufactured air. It's chill is becoming uncomfortable. The Pillsbury Dough boy's smile is a lie. You push the tube of crescent rolls back into the dispenser rack. You head to check out, you're step quickening. Goosebumps erupt on your thighs.

As you approach the exit, you realize you're anticipating the earth's blast of heat almost as much as you had anticipated the store's blast of cold just 35 minutes ago.

The feeling lasts for as long as it takes to traverse five yards of hot asphalt.

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Anonymous said...

Valu King in Brooklyn?

No pics of the immediate physiological effects? BUMMER...


Kirk said...

I'm thinking it's the new Giant Eagle in Broadview Heights, right by I-77, where Country Kitchen used to be.

There is something potentially delusional about air conditioning. It makes you forget heat exists.

jo said...

I'm guessing the foray into the beer cooler was too XXX-rated to post?

Vince said...

Here you freeze when you get to that part of the supermarket since we've had few days over 20 Celsius. Well, I don't know if it the same exactly. But the place where the cabinet is keeping things cold. In the dairy section there is a blast of jet driven arctic air that would knock the balls from a brass monkey.

Erin O'Brien said...

Hi gang.

You've got it, Kirk. But the lot shot was at the Broadview Heights Marc's.

Anonymous said...

I think the stores have probably learned by now not to keep the lawn furniture near the beer caves...


twinklysparkles said...

Oh, and now I have about 4 hot flashes per hour and that is NOT hyperbole.

I love my AC.