I went to the grocery store last night with a list of items in my pocket and reusable cloth bags in hand. As I walked up to the row of carts parked in their corral, I second-guessed and made a sharp U-turn for the baskets. I picked up the black shaped plastic with metal handles and put my bags inside, only to realize the items listed on that small, yellow piece of paper in my pocket were too much for this basket – and one arm – to handle. I replaced the basket and reversed back to the corral.
I separated a cart from the others and placed my bag inside just before reaching toward the wet cloths dispenser labeled Purell. I ripped off the top sheet and rubbed it on the steering handle of the cart. As I reached to the small bin below the dispenser to throw out the used cloth, I paused. A series of questions came with the persistence of a overly curious child:
“Why do we wipe down our cart handles this way? Why was I so careful to wash the cart when I had previously picked up a basket without the same level of concern? Was it because the sanitizer dispenser had not yet come into view, even though I had shopped at this store before and knew it was there? What did we do before sanitizer was in grocery stores? Have we been instilled with a fear that if we do not sanitize, we are exposing ourselves to ever-present sickness?”