Dennis & The Mollie Bus Are Back!

Dennis & the Mollie Bus

If you had asked me this question before the pandemic…

“Are you attached to doing your own grocery shopping?”

… I would have answeredAbsolutely not! It’s just another household chore. If it weren’t for the expense, I’d be perfectly happy for someone else to do it.”

But that turned out to be totally untrue. There were so many things I missed about doing my own shopping.

FIRST & FOREMOST thing I missed about doing my own shopping: Being driven home from Mollie Stone’s on the Mollie Bus by Dennis.

I don’t own a car. (I don’t believe anyone should own a car unless they need it for a special reason.) Not only am I car-free, but I live up a rather steep hill. Pulling a cart full of groceries up that hill is not within the realm of possibility. So, before Mollie Stone’s on 18th Street in San Francisco, started their shuttle several years ago, I had three options:

  1. Borrow a car (but now I’ve totally stopped driving).
  2. Plan a shopping trip with someone who has a car (not ideal because I don’t feel free to take as long as I want).
  3. Take a bus or walk to the store and get a taxi/Lyft home.

Number three is not so terrible. But I loved, before the pandemic, strolling/rolling down the hill to Mollie’s, doing a humongous shopping….

And getting a ride home up the hill with Dennis!

Dennis is my friend. I always enjoy our very brief chat, and he has renamed Loulou & Nikki. He always asks, “How are Fifi and Pierre?” When he puts all the bags in the house, they greet him happily — even though Poodles are not French at all!

Once I was walking home with the pups after a long walk, which didn’t include a stop at Mollie’s. We got caught in a cloudburst. Clearly we were about to get soaked. That wouldn’t have bothered Nikki & Loulou in the least, but it would have been a big drag for ME. Suddenly the Mollie Bus appeared from nowhere, and Dennis offered me and the pups a ride home! It was like magic, like the night bus in Harry Potter! Dennis was my savior.

I am a city girl, and these encounters with the people who work in the neighborhood stores … I thrive on them. They give me a strong sense of connection to this place called San Francisco.

THE SECOND MOST MISSED THING: Picking my own produce. I and I alone want to be the one who decides if the mushrooms are fresh if the artichoke looks good if there’s enough kale in the bunch to justify the price. The head of cabbage has to be heavy for its size or forget it! And the Fuji apples with the weird striations are the best ones! The Instacart shoppers seemed to go for size. I wish I could find the photos I took of some of the huge produce they delivered to my door: A jicama as big as my head and a yam the size of a football.

I am so grateful for their service when I was afraid to shop for myself. I don’t know how much danger there was in shopping while masked. But at the time, we didn’t know the relative danger of anything. The whole WORLD had become a threat. And these shoppers were willing to take the risk for me. I pray that none of them got Covid 19.

Anyhow, I’m DONE with that particular moral dilemma — I hope forever — and am absolutely thrilled to now be selecting my own Fujis.

THIRD MOST MISSED THING: Seeing what new products are available. This is America! Everyone is always inventing new food products! And some of them are really good! I’m very happy to have discovered Sriracha Mayonnaise.

FOURTH: I really missed re-using all my plastic bags. I am one of the many who are painfully conscious that plastic is suffocating the planet. One very sad aspect of the pandemic is that we started using so much MORE plastic than before in order to diminish the possibility of contagion. This is one issue that has changed very little as the virus has loosened its hold on us. Everything is STILL in plastic.

Before the virus, I tried to re-use my plastic bags as much as possible. I would bring small bags I’d washed to put the produce in, and big bags to put everything in. I dreamed of getting to the point where I didn’t have enough plastic bags! Covid 19 changed all that. My shoppers, of necessity, used new bags for everything. It hurt me to watch the bags within bags within bags — both plastic & paper — piling up in my flat.

So, now I’m back to bringing my small and large bags with me when I do my shopping. It’s true, that great day when I don’t have enough bags has been pushed far back into the future. But I’m working on the project again, and it feels good.

And when the Mollie Bus finally came back, which was after I’d already gone back to doing my own shopping — — I was soooo happy!

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