I came to a life-changing intersection of life at the grocery store checkout counter this week. I made a run to pick up an assortment of products from our local Town & Country, and milk was the headliner. A full on gallon of whole milk.
There was nothing visibly special about it. Nothing to differentiate it from the half million other gallons of milk seen in my lifetime. Well, except the ones in Canada that they sell in plastic bags so you can just put them right into a pitcher . . . but I digress. There was something that made this gallon of milk special.
I had bagged all of my other groceries into their plastic bags (no, I’m not green, not with envy and not with eco-friendliness) and I stared down that thing of milk. Then I looked around the store to see if anyone was watching. I was going to do it.
You see, I’ve gone my whole life wondering why people don’t put milk in a bag. It has long tormented society as the most inconvenient thing you can ever buy at the store. Even when you buy it at a convenience store, all convenience is neglected by this inexplicable compulsion to carry it by the tiny hand-cramping handle whilst carrying all the other groceries in bags. So milk jugs have handles. So that means you can’t put them in bags? Pshaw, pshaw. And again I say pshaw. Milk jugs just might be the hardest thing in the store to carry, so it makes no sense not to bag them.
Still, as this furious rage against nonsense and injustice stormed within me, I didn’t know for sure if I was doing the right thing. I slipped the jug into the plastic bag and wondered if I was making a mistake. The big question now was the question of weight. Can a plastic bag hold a gallon of milk? Will the handles tear? Will they slice through my hand? Will the bag split through the bottom?
So I picked up that bag and quickly placed it inside the next plastic bag. But even as I did so, I realized that the double bagging was unnecessary. The jug that always feels so unwieldy and cumbersome was pleasantly wieldy and cumberless. I left the grocery store knowing that as I walked away with my food, I was leaving behind a tradition that had weighed me down for far too long. I felt free. I felt like I was beginning life again. I felt like the sole beacon of wisdom in a world full of gallon-jug-carrying fools.
And now, this is me shouting it from the virtual rooftops: Put your milk in a bag! Those gallons are not special. They don’t deserve to roam free in car trunks and back seats, segregated from the cans and produce and buns and cheese and dishwasher gel. They can sit there suffocating in a plastic bag like the rest of your groceries. If you want your milk to feel special, hire a milk man. Otherwise, give up the charade. The handle is for pouring, not for carrying across driveways and up stairs.
Okay. I’m prepared for the backlash. Bring it on.