Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sensory Overload--Culture Shock

This morning I read a blog that was forwarded to a listserv I haunt from time to time. As I read the words, I was struck by the eerie similarity I felt at the supermarket the other day.
It's only been a couple of years since I stopped going to the big city for most of my groceries and started frequenting the Mom-n-Pop grocery store in my Tinytown.  As I have progressed in my journey from processed food dining to homemade cuisine, I have relied less and less often on cans of this or packets of that. So, you might be able to imagine my surprise when I'm used to this sort of thing:
Just a public domain picture.  I don't go to this store.


 And I walked into this sort of thing:
Another public domain pic.  Although it looks sorta familiar.

It never occurred to me that I might feel any kind of sensory overload.  But having come from my small town ways to the big city, the difference slapped me rather smartly across the face. I almost turned around and walked back out the door.  I felt a little...blurry and overwhelmed.

Yep, public domain.  I haven't yet figured out how to make my camera do this.

I mean, look at all those colors!  Imagine shelves from the floor to well over the top of my head full of every sort of variation on endless themes of products all aimed at me, the consumer.  Just look at it:
It amazes me what you can find when you Google 'public domain supermarket images.'
And there are aisles and aisles of it.  It boggles the mind.  It was almost nightmarish and more than a little off-putting.  But I pulled up my socks and grabbed a little plastic shopping basket and set off with list in hand.
My list was short.  Coffee, creamer, bread, yogurt, a nice piece of codfish and salad fixings.  At my little hometown store, it takes me roughly seven minutes to get that list in the bag and out the door. Another two or three minutes and I'm in my kitchen cooking fish and cutting salad.

It took me seven minutes just to find the coffee, another four to find the dairy department because I got turned around in all those aisles of processed food.  After only one minute, I found the fish because it was right next to the dairy.  Fortunately, the bakery was between the fish and the salad.  Luckily, I found the checkout at the end of the produce aisle or I might still be wandering around in there.

Getting through the checkout was another thing altogether.

It's really interesting to me the differences in the world and what I am capable of getting used to.  When I moved to the small town, I held firmly onto the supermarkets and shopping centers to which I was accustomed.  I let go of them one finger at a time afraid of losing my convenient lifestyle and the comfort of the known world.

These days, I fight the urge to shove it all away with both hands while screaming IDON'TWANNA! 
Yeah.  I'm mature like that.

No comments:

Post a Comment