b'final mattersGetting Lost in thePandemic SupermarketMy first COVID-19 shopping spree sets the paceBY DONNY LEVITS hopping list. Check. Shopping bags.I figured I didnt need to add any more weirdness to Check.Travel-sizebottleofhandthe environment by jawing at a robot. sanitizer.Check.Rubbergloves.I then headed down the frozen food aisle and a Check.Facemask.Check.Wipes.fleet of shopping carts stood in my way, captained by Check. London Calling. Check. well-intentioned shoppers who did not yet possess Iknowitmaysoundsuperflu- the finesse to steer smoothly in this new age of social ous but selecting the perfect albumdistancing. Here we are, upholding the mandate of to play while driving to the grocery store during athis new normal our society has asked us to follow. pandemic rates high on my list of priorities. And theWe are signed on for the long haul, but we are al-album London Calling by the Clash fits the bill.my breath fresh under my mask during the shoppingready weary. Were weary from the relentless drone On that sterling morning in early April, I backedspree (NB: that lasted all of 15 minutes and it was allof the kids/work combo at home, the quarantine out of the driveway to the upbeat Rudie Cant Faildownhill from there).overachievers tsk-tsking on social media, and simply and headed over to the Stop & Shop on Valley Street.I whisked my cart over to the fruit and veggiethe lack of knowing if well see our family for the With a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old at home, I decidedsection and started singing the first lines of the songDecember holidays. to go a little light on the accelerator so I could sneakunder my still Altoid-friendly breath: Im all lost inAnd all of a sudden, it made sense: silently raging in a few extra few minutes out of the house.the supermarket / I can no longer shop happilyin the supermarket to a seminal punk album is in By the time I pulled into the parking lot, I wasStrummer didnt forecast a future pandemic whenfact the best that one can do right now.at Lost in the Supermarket, the eighth track (sidehe wrote the song in 1979, but the first dozen wordsCheckout at the cash register went smoothly and two, track three for the vinyl purists) on the album.certainly do the trick. Had I discovered my pandem- I was soon on the way to pack up my bounty into The tune has always been one of my favorite Clashic theme song for this new normal? the trunk. I jumped in the car seat, peeled off my songs. Joe Strummers lyrics contrast the shiny andThe first rule of pandemic shopping is to be asmask, and got reacquainted with my peripheral vi-clean grocery store with the lonely existence of theefficient as possible: no email, no endless scrolling,sion. As I bid goodbye to the Stop & Shop for an-protagonist.and no texting goofy photos of adult diapers to myother week, I took a right turn onto Valley Street. B e f o r ecollege friends. Unfortunately, I became indecisiveThe next song after Lost in the Supermarket came puttingonas soon as I arrived at the apples. Fuji? Gala? Honeyon. Joe Strummer is now singing Clampdown and mymask,Icrisp? Nothing is more sinful in the Levit householdonce again, its a strangely appropriate title for whats scoopedupthan biting into a mealy apple, so the stakes weregoing on in our world. Looks like London Calling someAltoidshigh. I soon noticed two patient shoppers waitingwill be my soundtrack for the foreseeable future. andpoppedfor me to make my decision and move on.Stay safe. Stay sane. Stay nice. Well get through this.theminmyAs I aimed my cart straight for the hummus, IDonny Levit is a journalist, writer, and Maplewood mouth.Ifig- noticed that Marty the robot failed to obey the six- resident. He is the author of Rock n Roll Lies, 10 Sto-uredtheyfoot rule. Admittedly, I find him to be a bit of aries. Follow him on Twitter @donnyreports and Insta-wouldkeepcreeper on even the best of days. I held my tongue.gram @undertheinfluenceradio.'