Monday, July 19, 2010

The Bag Lady

(The Railway Station, William Powell Frith, 1800's , Art

Okay, I'll admit it.

I'm deathly afraid that I am going to run out of food while I'm traveling in Europe.

I know these feelings are completely unreasonable.

But then again, the act of reason has very little to do with the development of feelings in the first place.

Gretch and I had bought hot chocolate and pastries at the train station in Innsbruck, Austria midmorning.

Just as expected, everything was superbly scrumptious.

While inhaling my chocolate croissant, I gazed down the station's corridor and saw the sparkle of lights and glistening glass windows.

I peered at this inviting scene more closely.

Boxes of every shape, size and color were sitting on shelves.

Jars and cans stood like soldiers at attention next to them.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing!

No, it wasn't a snack bar.

And it definitely wasn't a magazine shop.

I was staring at an honest to goodness grocery store right there in the middle of the train station!

I began running toward mecca as fast as my little legs could carry me.

I slowed to a comfortable trot as I entered the store.

My eagle eyes made a cursory examination of the aisles as my brain began to whirl with ideas.

I knew that our barely swallowed snack of five minutes ago would not sustain us past the next 15 minutes - tops.

That thought alone was enough to frighten the fat right off me.

But then I realized that we would be back on the train to Italy during the respectable hours - 11 a.m. through 2 p.m. - when lunch should rightly be consumed.

I clearly had no choice.

I would have to buy lunch in this grocery store palace!

I grabbed Gretch and we shot down the aisle toward the deli.

Sandwiches of every sort and variety were spread throughout the display case.

They seemed to be speaking to me:

"Choose me! Choose Me!"

Kind soul that I am, I didn't want to leave anyone out so I quickly selected five sandwiches - two tempting turkeys, one mouthwatering ham, one sturdy looking beef and one lonely all-by-itself chicken at the end of the row.

Delicate leaves of crisp green lettuce peeked out of the slices of bread.

Thick slices of juicy red tomato hung over the sides of the sandwiches.

Bottles of delectable dressings stood in a beautiful tray inside the display case - all ready to be called into action as condiments.

Four of us would be noshing on lunch.

But I had selected five sandwiches.

Oh, well - as my dad used to say - that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Next, we needed something to wash those tasty sandwiches down the old pipes.

Heading for the beverage aisle, I glanced quickly at the salad display.

I thought to myself, "How many vegetable servings is one person supposed to ingest in a day?"

The last time I checked, the revered American Food Pyramid had amped that figure up to 92 half cup servings per day - fresh vegetables only.

A person can squeeze by with just 46 servings if the vegetables are cooked.

That was good news.

Feeling unusually guilty, I said to myself: "I'd better pick up a few salads too."

Gretch and I sized up the libation offerings in the beverage aisle.

Things looked really promising, I have to say.

We chose a gallon of apple cider, three gigantic bottles of mineral water and a half gallon of chocolate milk to round things out.

(Most of the things that would be "rounding out," by the way, could be easily located on my body in a matter of hours.)

My mind began to wander to our upcoming train ride.

I said to Gretch: "I hope they provide catheters on the train because after I drink all of this fluid, that's going to be my only option!"

We giggled as we walked over to my favorite section of any grocery store - the cookie aisle.

I've had a love affair with cookies all of my life.

And I don't intend to break up with the little buggers anytime soon.

Our eyes focused on a veritable treasure trove of Austrian biscuits, cookies and pastries.

How was I going to choose from among them?

The answer to that question was incredibly obvious.

Pass any of them up?

Let's get serious here.

I promptly dropped 6 packages of cookies and two bags of mini- donuts into our basket.

I realized that I needed to be sensible.

We were leaving Austria within minutes.

Who knew if we would ever return?

I would regret it forever if I missed even one of those Austrian confections.

I dropped a package of apple strudel in my basket just as Bob reached my side.

I glanced up at him and said, "Have you been having fun in the train station, honey?"

His eyes dropped to my basket as he said, "Yes, I've been studying all of the historical markers and getting some exercise in too."

I wanted to slap him silly!

Maybe that would jolt all of that high minded discipline out of him.

Instead, I said, "Gretch and I have been having fun shopping for groceries."

Then he continued: "Do you really think we need all of that food?"

The hair on the back of my neck began to curl.

He had used the word "need" which automatically caused me to become hyper-vigilant.

"Well, no, we don't really NEED it but won't it be fun to sample these Austrian delicacies on the train?"

Wisely, he stepped away from me and headed for the check-out.

As Bob was gazing down the corridor, I tossed four chocolate bars - all proudly made in Austria - on the conveyor belt.

We walked out of the food palace with a plastic bag the size of New Zealand.

Seth, who had been computing in the train station, met us in the corridor.

His eyes fell on my plastic bag as he said, "Stocking up, are we?"

People stared at me as we walked through the train on our way to our compartment.

I thought to myself: "Oh, give it a rest, you nosy Nellies. I've picked up a few groceries. I haven't killed anyone.......yet."

I did not care if the entire world thought I was crazy to the core.

The only thing I cared about was finding a catheter.

1 comment:

  1. It reminds me...

    Once upon a time, I was on an Italian train heading up to the Alps and the leader of the group I was with screwed up on finding us supper. We were all starving. Then somebody discovered there was a tiny snack bar in the caboose full of interesting things of the likes we'd never seen before. The Toblerone was familiar, but that was it. The rest were all in Italian wrappers. We bought armfuls and hurried back to our train compartment like squirrels with forbidden nuts. I have no idea what we ate, but I remember peeling open wrappers to find chocolate and nougats and crunchy things shaped like spheres. We were giddy with exotic snackery. Blissful and long remembered.