Some of you may remember that awhile back I was plagued by a heel spur which cut seriously into my shopping time. It’s just no fun to limp around in a store. But then I discovered the motorized shopping carts and entered a whole new world of shopping.
It was really enjoyable riding through a store checking out the lower shelves which I hadn’t stooped to conquer before. In fact, I could go through more than one big store in a day without wearing myself out.
During that period of time one of our daughters began calling those motorized carts the “dodge-em cars” which is what they seemed to be from her viewpoint.
After my heel healed I couldn’t bring myself to use the carts anymore because I no longer felt handicapped. Being tired didn’t qualify as a reason. That was just an excuse. Besides when you’re just tired you can use the regular shopping cart as a walker to; hold yourself up.
Lately my husband Bill has been under the weather, so we haven’t gone shopping together for a few months. Then one day last week he had a really good day.
We had been talking about getting a new bathtub to replace 40-some years ago when we moved in here, so I suggested, “Let’s go out to the store and look at bathtubs.” He just looked at me so I said, “Let’s go out to the store and ride the dodge-em cars.”
First he just stared at me. He knew what I meant, but I don’t think he considered himself handicapped. I continued, “It’s close to closing time, and they won’t be very busy, so the handicapped carts probably won’t be in use. My leg hurts so we can both ride.”
“In the same cart?” he asked.
With a smart Alec answer like that I knew he was ready to go.
Our middle son has moved in with us to help me take care of Bill, so he was our chauffeur to the store. When we got there, surely enough, all the handicapped carts were lined up by the door. I confidently told our son, “You help your dad. He hasn’t ridden these before. I can take care of myself.”
So he helped Bill get settled and walked along behind him until he realized I was still at the starting gate. I shouldn’t have been so confident. It didn’t work exactly like the others I’d tried. He quickly showed me how to operate it and looked around to find his dad had taken off without him.
“Go find your dad,” I urged him, “I’m okay now.” My cart was not as energized as Bill’s I just putt-putted along while he zoomed about. We caught up with him in the bathtub display. Both Bill and I were content to move about in the empty aisles on our dodge-em cars while our son tried to talk business with the clerk.
One of our daughters had explained to me some time ago that our children are now called the sandwich generation because they are sandwiched between caring for their own children and their parents. As I watched our son try to keep track of us while we played, I finally understood the sandwich generation concept.
Actually he needn’t have worried. We are still fairly rational adults. I made it back to the cash register to pay for my pack of flower seeds without incident. I’m sure my son was just kidding when he said he overheard a clerk saying something about an old lady on a handicap cart terrorizing the garden section by speeding up and down the aisles.
As my cart speeded up, Bill’s slowed down. So our son ended up pushing his dad on the cart back to the exit while Bill told him, “I don’t care what anyone says I did not shove that box over. It just fell when I put the cart in reverse.”
I considered the trip a success so I suggested a repeat performance at another store early some morning, but our son looked at me like I used to look at him when he was in trouble and said, “You’re on your own. I’m not taking you!”
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Daily Advocate May 17, 2006.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.