In other words: it is very, very hard.
If you were raised here, you likely have no idea what I’m talking about. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said one of my friends, who was raised here. “A supermarket is a supermarket.” We were in the Fairway near 74th, and the produce aisle looked like the deck of the Titanic. True, there was a crate of summer squash where Billy Zane should’ve been, but other than that, the scene was identical. “People weren’t meant to live like this,” I hissed, clutching my basket to my chest as a family of four crowded towards the sugar cereals. Flanked by an in-aisle pop-up display of maple syrups, I had no escape. The fear set in. “This is no supermarket.”
Beyond the Five Boroughs, things are different. Out there, in the great beyond, there are supermarkets deserving of the name. Their aisles are vast -- vast like the sky is vast, like a six-lane highway at midnight is vast. Suburban aisles fill you with childlike wonder. They numb the dull, ceaseless agony of adulthood. Once, I wandered the colossal promenades of a Publix for 20 minutes. I wasn’t even shopping; I was just basking in the splendor. It was all clean, new, and bright. Everything in its right place. I was at peace.