OTTAWA – After almost half a year of self-isolating, social distancing, and mask-wearing, Ottawa local Grant Thompson confessed that the thing he misses most from his life before Covid was the all-consuming, visceral thrill of being able to pick up, inspect, and squeeze grocery store fruit that he never had any intention of buying.
Thompson, whose favourite pre-pandemic grocery store activities also included pressing his nose to cantaloupes to smell if they were ripe enough and stealing the occasional grape to eat like a common criminal, expressed just how much he craved the sweet, sweet feeling of peach fuzz and pineapple spikes under his yearning fingers.
“Just you wait until the stores allow me to pick up nectarines willy-nilly again,” he enthused. “I don’t even enjoy nectarines. I just miss being able to touch them whenever I want and not worry about killing any grandmothers in the process. The feeling is electric. God, I miss it.”
“I assume fruit touching happens in Stage 4, right?” he continued, his desperation palpable. “Please tell me that’s what the government has in mind. I don’t know if I can take much more of this oppressive, puritanical grocery lifestyle.”
Gregory Jensen, a manager at Thompson’s local Loblaws, confirmed that he has fielded countless complaints throughout the pandemic from customers frustrated that they were no longer permitted to dig their virus-covered limbs into bags of cherries or squeeze all the avocados before realizing that none of them are ripe enough to purchase.
“I have to admit, I get a certain thrill watching them hover their shaking hands over the entire fruit section, paralyzed with the knowledge that the carnal thrill of running their fingers over an apple or a pear is just out of their reach,” he said.
Thompson explained that he has been coping with his pent-up need to touch things he’ll never buy by switching from fruit to plants in the Loblaws garden centre.
“There’s nothing in the government rules that says I can’t run my fingers along the satiny petals of a petunia or two,” he argued. “It doesn’t cure the itch, but it’ll tide me over until I can get back to smelling the ol’ cantaloupes again.”
At press time, Thompson had been banned from Loblaws after breaking down and diving into an entire barrel of watermelons.