I spend a lot of time lately popping into stores for just one or two items. With feeding Eleanor every 2-3 hours, I don't have time for major excursions in-between. But it's still nice to get out of the house and remind myself that there is a wider world beyond my front door. If I can just gather everything for the diaper bag, keep the baby quiet and happy, and manage to buckle the car seat in correctly, then I can participate in the adult world for a short time.
Running errands is the perfect way to spend my hour or so of free time. All the stores are within 5 minutes' drive of our house, and shopping has no set time limit. If it's going well, I can browse longer. If it's not, we cut our losses and head home, and hopefully the car has lulled Eleanor back to sleep before I pull in the garage.
Last week, I was at Target, following the slammed door incident. The breast-feeding part that I had originally intended to buy was out of stock, so I was desperately searching for something else to put in my cart, so I didn't just buy peanut M&Ms and a bottle of wine.
As I glanced around the store, I noticed the seasonal section across the aisle had been transformed into a Halloween wonderland. And a grown man was standing in the costume aisle, seriously considering the mummy mask, then putting it back and fingering the Frankenstein hands.
And I think I've been living in the 9-5 world for a little bit too long. Because I was fascinated by the fact that a healthy adult male was shopping for a Halloween costume at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. It's been such a long time since I was out and about during the workday that I think everyone else should be chained to their desks.
I immediately started imagining a scenario where it was extremely important to him that he have the perfect Halloween costume. So important that he blew off an afternoon of work in mid-September to start looking. Ex-girlfriend's Halloween party? Big work shindig where everyone is expected to dress up to show that they're part of the team? Maybe not a Halloween party at all—maybe he was a bank robber and finding a disguise was work.
He probably wasn't skipping work at all. But he was still looking at Halloween costumes in mid-September (which seems ridiculously early to me). And no matter what his real story was, I appreciated having something to mull over as the "free time" timer dinged in my head, and I hurried back home to feed the baby.