A text just informed me that Victoria, my Instacart shopper, has begun shopping. I don’t know Victoria, but I’m grateful for her. I wonder how crowded Costco is today and whether people are maintaining social distance. I wonder if Victoria is scared and would rather stay home. Another text comes in. Victoria just substituted Colby-jack for my Havarti, okay? I reply in a direct message to Victoria: Thank you for doing my shopping. I really appreciate it. My pleasure, she replies.
Because I know Victoria’s name, I think of her as she collects my groceries. Knowing that a real person is selecting the items on my list makes me glad I resisted the temptation to overbuy. I hope Victoria has what her family needs during this time. I imagine her entering the produce walk-in and placing in my cart the carrots and broccoli and mushrooms that a hardworking Costco employee restocked overnight. I will never know the names of those who stock the shelves or unload the trucks. Are they getting enough sleep? Working double shifts to cover for colleagues who cannot or will not work? I think about provenance of my cheese and peanut butter, tracing back link by link: the truckdrivers, away from their own families; the folks who loaded those trucks; the factory workers and farm laborers—all of them working together in a long-distance relay that in the end brings food to my family.
This morning a Facebook friend shared a video of how to sanitize groceries that might be carrying coronavirus. The doctor wasn’t suited up in protective gear—he simply sprayed household cleaner on a paper towel until saturated, then went about wiping down. Also making the rounds on social media these days is a scene from Scrubs showing how germs spread from person to person via handshakes, tissues, and touch. This pandemic is helping us comprehend the invisible—for better and for worse.
My phone buzzes. Victoria just left my Costco box on the front porch. I text back a thank you and as I hit send, I also pray for Victoria to be kept healthy and safe. When I finish writing, I will bring my grocery items in a package at a time, wiping down and putting away. And as I do so, I will consider the ease with which I did my week’s shopping: a dozen clicks, a credit card number, and the patience to wait a week for delivery because Instacart was so backed up. I will also give thanks for the many fingerprints on this bounty we have received.