Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday in the Apartment with Irene

Yesterday, I was quite worried that I'd have to have a decidedly unpleasant Adventure in Business Casual. I had procrastinated about buying groceries—granted, I was also being frugal and eating the food that I insist on buying but that sits, uneaten and unloved, on my shelf. But in a sad twist of fate, I waited to buy groceries until the entire east coast had reached Jane-Fonda-like levels of loudly complaining to an empty audience about Hurricane Irene.

As with any other Jane Fonda pet project, there was a much bigger media storm than an actual storm. This meant that KMart had been sold out of flashlights since sunny Thursday. I needed groceries on sunny Friday, and it is only just now cloudy Saturday morning. Still, the perception was that hurricane doom would come whether we were ready or not ... so be ready, New York! Somehow there was a joint perception that if we all stocked our tiny apartments with canned goods, bottled water, and some trendy little scones from that free-trade coffee shop down the street, we could all survive, and even make time for a "stay-cation" brunch and DIY spa weekend. Fab-u-lous!*

The problem, of course, is that everyone has this same idea (combined with a healthy dose of panic) at the same time. So everyone runs out and buys not one flashlight, but seven; not one jug of water, but 11! This happy "there's enough to go around" feeling that we have most of the time disappears thanks to an injection of scarcity. This is the same basic principle that happens when there's a run on a bank—everyone panics that there won't be enough money, so they take out ALL their money, which means there's not enough left, and the bank fails. People worry there won't be enough flashlights or trendy scones, so they buy more than they need, which means there aren't enough flashlights or trendy scones, and the shelves are bare.

Anyway, all of this hoopla about hurricane preparedness made my little weekend quest for groceries a Pandora's box waiting to be unleashed. I do most of my shopping at Trader Joe's, which is typically busy and under-stocked (but also cheap and organic and clever and cool, so I love them with every fiber of my being). I was prepared to leave work, go down to Trader Joe's at 3:00 PM on a Friday afternoon when every major news network was preaching that we had to prepare for this hurricane ... or else!** I was prepared to write an Adventure in Business Casual describing harrowing experiences reaching for the last carton of skim Greek yogurt, frightening escapades with parkour in the produce department, and being double-crossed by some artist-type who I asked to hold my place in line. I was readying for battle and I was equal parts quaky knees, morbid curiosity, and adrenaline-fueled bravado.

Thankfully, before the doom broke out, I had a stroke of genius. I went to Walgreen's. This is going to sound like shameless product placement, but Walgreen's was really convenient. More amazingly, Walgreen's had everything I needed. Granted, I wasn't going to buy a ton of stuff (cereal, milk, bread, eggs, a gallon of water, and granola bars), but Walgreen's had my back. Even more amazing, they let me use a coupon to buy some premium cereal on their 2 for $5 deal, and let me use rainchecks to buy brownie mix. Not only was Walgreen's convenient, it was fully stocked and affordable! For a few glimmering moments, Walgreen's was the platonic ideal of a drugstore. It was a virtuous drugstore. My warrior-like thumos thawing in the oppressive humidity, I walked back to my apartment with a Greek chorus singing the praises of Walgreen's inside my head.***

I am now fully stocked, and sitting in my apartment. They are shutting off power in Lower Manhattan. I'm ready to roll. Prepare for one unforgettable hurricane brunch, Irene. I'm stocked and ready to go.

I did not contribute to Hurricane Irene panic in:
Black crop pants, pink collared wrap top, silver hoop earrings, silver bangles, and black and white polka dot slingback peeptoes.

*New Yorkers tend to be extremely concerned with brunch, and incredibly amazed at their own ability to turn small things into a party. Hurricane Irene brunches will be all the rage this weekend. 

**Major news networks enjoy acting like everyone's mother when they're not acting like the friend who somehow knows everything about everyone and decides what gossip you're privy to. 

*** No Greek chorus in NYC would ever sing the praises of Walgreen's, because it would compete with their corner convenience store in Astoria.