I am, as I have noted in the past, a creature of habit. I enjoy my ruts and become terribly distressed when said ruts are diverted. Please keep that fact in mind as we proceed.
Over the course of the last decade or so I’ve been visiting one of our local retailers who shall remain nameless, but who is incredibly large and with whom I spend a ridiculous amount of time and money. But lately items I’ve been accustomed to purchasing with absolutely no problem have disappeared from their shelves. I understand businesses run out of things and have to wait for those things to be delivered so they can go back into inventory, but after several weeks of empty shelves I asked the cashier what was happening. She didn’t have a clue and referred me to an 800 number that would get me to corporate so I could ask them the same question.
I’ve always contended they pay people to watch what I buy so they can discontinue it, a theory that probably greatly overestimates my status as a customer. But for the last month I haven’t been able to buy my handy, dandy, and somewhat more hygienically safe, Equate non-drip nose spray (which is bad since I enjoy breathing). Nor have I been able to find my Nature Made Sam-e (which is also bad since killing people is not nice—not to mention illegal). And now? Now I can’t even buy my usual coffee creamer—which must also remain nameless lest some of you decide to try it and then like it, thereby increasing the already devastating shortage.
For those who do not know me, I will tell you this is an unmitigated disaster. Three cups of coffee a day (all right, maybe four . . . or five) and at least one cup of hot tea require the addition of this creamer. Actually, they DEMAND the addition of this creamer. But can I find it? No. Not at any of the grocery stores I checked and barely on line. I did find a retailer on Amazon who had five cases of six bottles each on hand—with no indication there would be more. I resisted the urge to order all thirty bottles. You know that “fun fact” we posted on our Facebook page about the loss of your cell phone generating panic equal to that of a near death experience? Well, loss of this anonymous creamer is equally panic-inducing. At least for me.
I suppose all of this makes me a real-life example of FORO—the Fear Of Running Out as seen on the International Delight commercials. But I guarantee you, I’m not alone. There are a few more of us in this building who love the stuff. They may not eat it with a spoon (as I have been known to do on occasion) (don’t judge me), but for them it makes the perfect cup of coffee—which is why we try to keep a generous supply in the fridge in the garage.
Before you rightfully decide I’m obsessing over inconsequential things, let me assure you, I know there are probably acceptable substitutes out there . . . somewhere . . . except maybe for the creamer. And, if these items are never to be had again, I will seek out those substitutes and make do with the best ones I can find.
But there are a few things in this life that can never be replaced. These are the people we love for whom there can never be an acceptable substitute . . . good friends . . . parents . . . spouses and children . . . adorable grandchildren. When they leave you there is no trying a dozen different variations of similar people and then settling for the one that’s closest. They. Cannot. Be. Replaced. There’s just a big hole left in your heart that will never completely close . . . one that will never truly heal. Sadly, sometimes well-meaning individuals seem to imply otherwise. “You’re still young . . . you’ll find someone else” or perhaps “At least you have/ can have more children”, or the ever popular “They lived a good, full life; at least you had them for XX years”, like any of that could ever remove the pain.
If my nose spray and my Sam-e and my creamer disappear forever, I’ll survive. And I’ll find something else, and I’ll make do. I’ll just be mad for a while. But the mere thought of losing someone I love, never to see them again until eternity rolls around, fills me with a fear I never knew was possible. FORO is real, folks—but only when we talk about time with the ones we love.