My "girls" from college are like bonus sisters. My real life sister has actually grown to be a pretty cool person, but that took a while. We are so far apart in age that, in college, we both gravitated to super-strong friendships with girls around our own age so we had the sort of sister experience we never had with each other. (Trust me, when you are 12 and your three-year-old sister is getting into your private stuff, both of you suffer trauma.)
I imagine my own sister will end up traveling to visit friends after she graduates, much like I pilgramage to NY a few times a year to see girlfriends and their houses and their babies and hopefully their libraries and stuff like that. Upstate NY is a beautiful, rural part of our country. As a college freshman, I was mystified by my new friends' planning these meccas to this place called Wegmans. I found out it was a grocery store. They spoke of it as if it were Jerusalem.
Soon, I discovered that when a grocery store trip meant at least two hours of driving, you tend to make An Event out of visiting said grocery store. Plus, I liked my friends so I agreed to go on such an excursion.
Nothing could have prepared me for the first trip to Wegmans.
I was greeted by an immense aisle of hot bars, fresh pizza, succulent bakeries, a coffee bar, and a grinder section. The store seemed to spread for miles, and had a crunchy granola section and a ramen section that both defied imagination. A little model train track ran around parts of the ceiling. But did I mention that grinder section? I'm a proper Yankee, and I was craving me some grinder. You know that sort of thing: it's a sandwich, built on a big long roll, filled with fillings and shredded lettuce.
I ran up to the counter, and cheerfully asked the man if he could please give me a veggie grinder. He gave me a very baffled look, and directed me to Aisle 6.
I was somewhat crestfallen. I didn't want a premade sandwich. I wanted a fresh sandwich, built right in front of me, to my own specifications. But he was insistent. I would find my grinder on Aisle 6. I made my way to Aisle 6... which housed cooking implements, including table-mount grinders for all my food grinding needs.
I went back to the counter, and pointed at the sign, and told the guy that I wanted one of those types of sandwiches. He got it, now, and was glad to make me a "sub". Those New Yorkers. Aren't they cute?
A few months later, I brought back a "grinder sale" sign to show my friends how we did it in CT. Somehow, we managed to stay friends all these years. The grinder incident didn't freak them out that much, though I admit that my near-death mono episode was a little more dicey. Through the boyfriends, the girlfriends, the moving, the marriages, the turning 30, the various babies, and all the graduate degrees we've all gone after because we just can't settle down and become productive members of society until we are sufficiently over-educated, we've all stuck around in some way or another for each other.
Happy Celebration Weekend, guys! Anyone up for a trip to Wegmans? I'm in a mood for grinders. And birthday cake!