I live in the center of Lyon; a lovely little apartment right along 'la rue des marronniers'. I live in the center of Lyon; in an apartment on the 5th story... with no elevator.
What does this mean exactly?
Grocery shopping is a nightmare. I should attribute this apartment to the 10 lbs I lost about 3 months after I moved in, but instead I can only think of how much of a nightmare going the grocery store can be. The sweating, the heaving, the loss of breath.. the numbing of my arms.
Much like going to war, I have to "gear up"... and here's how it goes:
Two large plastic cloth bags, check.
Tissues for nose, check.
iPod securely in front pocket, buds in ears, check.
Carte bleue and U express point card in right pocket, check.
.85 centimes for my baguette in my left pocket, check.
Grocery list in right pocket, check.
And then I am off; I descend moderately quickly- the first two floors fly by and I pick up a rhythm of descent. fwap. fwap. fwap. "bonjour!" (passing neighbor). fwap. fwap.
Out the two secure doors, into the street. I pop on my sunglasses to avoid eye contact with strangers and start making my way first to my little boulangerie; (I always order, "une banette normale, s'il vous plaît!") and then continue on to my U Express.
I swiftly pile my basket with rations, eggs, yogurt, laundry detergent, hand soap, toilet paper. I hesitate when it comes to Coca or Wine- but I've got my two big plastic bags with the cloth handles... I can handle it.
It's methodical, pick up an item, place in basket, check list. Usually I organize my list according to the lay out of the store, I don't want to spend too much time in there.
In about 15 minutes the store is ravaged and I am prepared to go home. The cashier is much faster than me, and he swipes the items with this terrible quickness. It stresses me out- I have to try to get everything into my two big bags without breaking the eggs or squishing the cookies.
He's done scanning before I've finished bagging and I deftly hand him the U-Express point card to win some time, he nods, scans and then waits.
"Par carte s'il vous plaît"
Beep. Beep. Beep.
"Allons-y" He responds.
Finally the bagging is finished, I test the weight in each arm and place them aside my feet; pop my card into the machine and tap out my code. Seconds feel like hours, finally apprové! apprové flashes and my receipt prints.
I toss the receipt into my bag, shove my cards back into my pocket, pop my ear buds back into my ears and begin the trek home (of course, not forgetting the merci! bonne journée!)
Walking home is just as stressful, I live next to a little bus area... and these buses go to some nasty areas. This means some nasty characters; I swipe my sunglasses on my eyes, walking fast and avoiding the spitting/smoking/name calling from these people. Stomach is in a knot for about 3 minutes, hoping that they don't try to bother me today.
I make it to my street; press in my codes. I struggle to carry the 10 lbs of groceries up the 5 flights of stairs, pausing every 2nd flight to breathe and continue.
At home I sit down and just respire. I'm going to have to do this again next Monday. souffle.