This week I cried over potato chips.
Specifically, Sour Cream and Onion Ruffles potato chips.
I made the trek to the store for our family’s necessities. I put on my gloves and mask and gave myself the pep talk. I checked with my parents and my husband’s parents in case they needed anything. Then I put my chin up and went inside.
While I was there I stayed away from everyone else. I serpentined the aisles so I avoided any kind of contact with any other person. I’m sure I looked like some kind of Pac Man navigating the store, dodging the ghosts, playing the pattern, trying to get the fruit in the middle of the screen. It felt ridiculous and scary and surreal.
I got everything we needed, but I also got some treats for my kids. They’ve been amazing about being stuck at home, separated from their friends and grandparents. They’ve had to give up everything just like everyone else has. No baseball, no school, no sleepovers, no movies, no dinners out.
I picked up their favorite ice cream and a little soda. I got a bag of chips for my oldest and I was there already, so I looked for my favorite treat. My very, very, VERY favorite treat. Ruffles.
They were out.
They are NEVER out, but they were out. Not one bag in the store.
I know, because I looked. I checked the end caps and everything.
No problem, I thought. A sign I don’t need them anyway.
Except that a little piece of me did need them.
I drove home, washed my hands, and unloaded groceries. We put everything away and I sat down with my husband. He asked what was wrong and as I said, “Nothing,” I burst into tears.
Big, wet, ugly, stupid, wracking sobs.
Over Sour Cream and Onion Ruffles chips.
Over a selfish, first world, spoiled girl problem.
Except, I wasn’t really crying about the snack.
I was crying because I felt out of control.
I felt cut off from our family and my closest friends.
I was crying because I felt the weight of the fear of the simple act of walking into a grocery store finally overwhelm me.
I was sobbing for my parents and my husband’s parents and everyone else who can’t even take the trip I took that day to buy their own milk and bread and fulfill their own basic needs. For those who must now depend on others to go for them because it just isn’t safe. I was crying for every person who is grieving a death of a loved one.
For every mother whose child is now isolated from the mental and physical health professionals he needs to be well.
For every senior citizen who lives alone and cannot have visitors or helpers come in until the quarantines are lifted.
I was crying for all of us and for the loss of everything we have always taken for granted until now.
No matter how great or small our stress or loss is, we are all hurting.
Because it isn’t safe to go out.
So while my husband held me this week and let me sob out my disappointment over the lack of Sour Cream and Onion Ruffles, we both understood that it wasn’t really about the chips at all.