Saturday, July 18, 2009


Big, big store

Yesterday evening I went to the grocery store to pick up some milk.

The grocery store is huge.

It’s a super-sized Bi-lo and it took me a long time to even get to the milk. I really should have had my walking shoes on instead of flip-flops. And I got all distracted on the long walk to the dairy section and ended up buying all sorts of things. But I’d only intended to get milk, so I hadn’t gotten a shopping buggy or a basket at the front of the store.

So here I am, juggling a bunch of impulse buys, and hoofing it all the long way back to the cashier.

When I was a kid, we had a tiny A&P grocery store in my hometown of Anderson, South Carolina. When I lived in London for a while in college, there was a Safeway near where I lived (close to the British Museum) that was a nice, small store. Birmingham, Alabama had the cozy-feeling Piggly Wiggly.

But now…it’s mostly just gigantic stores.

My husband’s sister and her husband live in Kenya. They came to North Carolina for a visit and I took them to the Costco warehouse (pictured) the day after they got off the plane. I figured they needed to stock up on some stuff.

It was complete culture shock for them, which clearly I should have realized. Any place that has 2 gallon containers of green peas takes time to adjust to.

Many times I really want to just pick up some milk.

Since books are escapes for me, I’m happiest reading about places that introduce me to a simpler, quieter place. British villages, small Southern towns, anyplace set in the past are my favorite escape settings.

In Pretty is as Pretty Dies, I wrote about a small town with a strong sense of community. There wasn't a super center in the whole book.

Because sometimes it’s nice to just downsize my world.