Sunday, March 22, 2020

Cramming "Life at the time of the coronavirus" into a freezer


Bonnie called the other day:

"Mena! We are going to buy some frozen blueberries, from Warkentin (Blueberries) Organic Farm where we get the fresh ones in the summer. Would you like some?"

"Hmm, blueberries, I love blueberries, and I have only a small bag left in the freezer.   Yes, of course! Bonnie, how big are the packages?"

"Well, they sell boxes, 30 pounds each"

"30 pounds? How big is 30 pounds? Will it fit in my freezer?"

"We are getting three boxes for us, and if you want we could split a fourth one with you."

"Hmm, no, it's fine, I will get a whole box and split it with Celestina."

A clear answer, haunted as I am by the fear of missing out on blueberries.

Celestina went to Bonnie's house this afternoon and called me when she was fifteen minutes away from my place. 

"Mum, the box is big and we don't have any room in our freezer. Do you have room in yours?"

"I will try to make room. I'll give you the full bag of frozen ones I have and try to fit the box in."

A knock at the door signals that my daughter has arrived. I open the door: Celestina is standing five metres (not TWO) away from my door, the box is right at my feet, an enormous box that I don't dare touching both to avoid hurting my back, but es-pe-ci-al-ly because Celestina has touched it, and her kids had a running nose ten days ago, and it might have been, who knows, it might have been coronavirus that they had, and if it was that, I might get it, and if I get it, I might die, and so, to exorcise my dying, Celestina doesn't want me to be closer than five metres from where she is.

"Wait, I will give you the bag of the frozen blueberries."

I go to the freezer, come back with this bag, put it on the hallway, back up 5 metres, she approaches, takes the bag, leaves. I push with my feet the heavy box inside the condo, I go to the kitchen, get thick gloves, exercise my muscles, lift the little monster and put it to the counter.  How the hell am I going to fit this box in my freezer? I can't even scratch my head to find an answer, because now I have to wash the gloves right away, to avoid that some viruses from the box, from Celestina's hands that touched her son's running nose ten days ago, might find the way to my lungs, even though during all this time Celestina has probably washed her hands two thousand three hundred and forty five times.

I wash my gloves, I wash my hands carefully, for 40 seconds to be extra careful, put the gloves back, open the box, open the blue bag inside the box and the ocean of frozen blueberries has a toll on me. Thirty pounds, oh my, they look like thirty tons.

I open the freezer, a tiny, sleek freezer that belongs to the skinniest smallest fridge available in North America. In normal times my freezer is empty and receiving. In normal times, when I go grocery shopping and then my fridge becomes one fifth full, (which I consider as extremely full), the mere act of opening the door fridge and seeing it one fifth full gives me palpitations, as I am a minimalist at heart, liver, kidneys, feet and all the rest. But at this coronavirus time even though my fridge is relatively manageable, my freezer is full. Or almost. I bought some spot prawns yesterday. Spot prawns, which I bought only another time in my 71 years of life. What am I going to do with 40 and some prawns if I cannot invite anybody and I eat two prawns every eighteen months? I have two loaves of bread in the freezer, and a lasagna I made, and bags of soup I made and chickpeas I made and tomato sauce I made. Why? Why? Why? All this cooked food? What happened to my mental sanity? Is the fear of coronavirus giving insatiable hunger? I am desperate, I start loading my fridge with the bags of soup - that will be my diet for the next seven days, with one loaf of bread, with the frozen escarole. And start frantically looking for freezer bags in the kitchen drawers.  Nope, I only have tiny sandwich bags. Of course, I never need freezer bags, except for the summer, when I freeze blueberries. And now it's spring. And the blueberries are already frozen. And they are waiting for their rightful place in my freezer.

I could go to the store and buy some bags. Yeah. By the time I go and push the elevator button with my sleeve and open the building door with my arm, and reach the store trying to be 5 metres distant from everybody I meet, and open the store door with my foot and go through all the acrobatic exercise to avoid touching, looking, getting infected, oh my, I am already exhausted, no, I'm not going to the store. I will manage at home. I recycle one bag, I fill a few tiny ones “pointless, I will need 155 of them and I have only three left.  Inspiration?  I need help. Idea! If I can't fit the whole box in my freezer maybe this blue bag where the blueberries are can get in. I can push, and flatten and shape the bag. I lift the full blue bag out of the box and the blueberries start running down my sleeves. Darn, I didn't close the bag properly. There you are, now it's closed. I move a few steps towards the freezer with this 27 pound newborn and countless blueberries run down my body and to my precious hardwood floor. Oh nooooo the bag has humongous running holes!!!  At this point I run to the freezer with the corpus delicti, damp it in, push with all my body to make it fit, close the drawer, slam the door, breathe deeply and I wish I could sit and relax, but no, I have to collect the tens of little blue marbles that are doing their best to give splashy colours to my counter and my floor.

I should check my temperature. Blueberries fever.


Blueberries party anyone?

 Mena M.
 Grocery Shopping at the time of the Coronavirus


Bill said...

Thanks for Menas’ vignette..

It is both timely and telling. Hope she has a blue, blue, blue a good way!

Stay healthy and positive NVG.

North Van's Grumps said...

Thank Bill. You too.

North Van's Grumps said...

BTW Warkinton's have other box sizes, smaller not just the 30 pounders.