“The voice behind the door” at Pathmark, Rob P. (he told us he just uses “P” as a last name), poses with his biggest fan, Mary Gulivindala, of Chestnut Hill. (Photo by “a random senior citizen”)

“The voice behind the door” at Pathmark, Rob P. (he told us he just uses “P” as a last name), poses with his biggest fan, Mary Gulivindala, of Chestnut Hill. (Photo by “a random senior citizen”)

by Mary Gulivindala

How long is your to-do list? How many things on them do you WANT to do? How many do you HAVE to do? Yeah, I thought so; me, too. My list dates back to 2008. Such is life.

I have become a realist with age. I have responsibilities unlike when I was a single carefree college student/young adult making and breaking the rules. Not anymore. If you’re a parent, you get what I’m saying. There are busy people, and there are productive people.

I have been one of the former for too long. I’m a war-weary zombie. For some reason I rebel against the number one tool that would keep me focused and on track, which is list making, the time management tool of the productive people. I spend my days working way too hard. I must have some adolescent issues I haven’t worked through yet.

I tell my kids life is one big chore, so you better figure out a way to have fun while you’re doing it. Here’s an example. I hate food shopping. It’s up there with making ice cubes and shakily walking them to the fridge without spilling the water on the floor and trying to sweep the dirt over the door jamb and outside. And I waste more time playing hockey with one dog’s kibble, trying to slap-shot it outside.

Now back to the supermarket chore. First let me say I’m grateful to be able to buy food. I say that with all sincerity. That doesn’t mean I have to like it, though. That is a HAVE-to-do chore. I HAVE to feed my kids. (I hate cooking too.) I try to go as little as possible. Once a month I do what I call “the big haul.” I begrudgingly drive myself to “the market.” I do this at 8:15 a.m., after I drop my son at school. I just keep the car going towards the store; otherwise, I would not go.

A few weeks ago was my supermarket day. I went to the Pathmark here in Chestnut Hill. It was a bitter cold day, too. I soldiered on. I grabbed a cart, cruised the Entenmann’s sale table displayed at the entrance (buy one, get one free) and stepped inside. I looked around and saw a few senior citizens, the employees and me.

I said “Hello, fruit and veggies” as I sauntered by and went straight to the deli. I always feel guilty walking up to the deli that early. The meat guys are just opening, and here I come, the first customer. “Sorry.” They are always very nice. I gave my order and said “I’ll be back.”

I was waking up now and getting my bearings. I launched into my strategy plan— get in, get out. I started pushing my cart up an isle when I noticed the music playing; it was Stevie Wonder singing “Isn’t She Lovely” — cool. So now I was rolling my cart, singing along and grabbing items off the shelves. No list needed. Remember, I’m a rebel; it’s all in my head.

Next up was an “Earth, Wind and Fire” song, SWEET! They play the coolest jams at that Pathmark. Best shopping soundtracks around. I’m feeling happy singing, dancing and shopping. I stopped and realized this happens every time I come to this Pathmark, I find myself having fun! Pathmark is my nightclub in the a.m., really.

Over the mic comes the DJ making his announcements. This guy is like the Wizard in “The Wizard of Oz” who sits behind the curtain. You never see him; you just hear him. He’s very enthusiastic, very happy and quite the salesman. He has real finesse. I don’t think many people listen to him since he’s like white noise, but I do.

This guy is funny. He’s rhyming on the mic, and I’m cracking up! “Take a stroll by Joel the pharmacist” and “Go see Jerry, the man with the plan in the meat department.” I asked the lady next to me if she heard what he just said. Her answer: no. “Go get your fish and make a new dish.” Now that’s talent.

I finished shopping, and it was time to check out. As I danced my way to the cashier, I realized my monthly dreaded “to do” turned into a party in my head. The aisles were my dance floor. My fellow clubbers were me, myself and I. All three of us had a blast. When I got to the checkout, I asked the cashier who the voice was and if I could meet him.

I had to thank the host with the most rhymes, so I was directed to Oz. I walked down the formica-like brick road and knocked on the door. There he was, Rob. Bright, alert and ready to entertain the masses (well, just one of the masses, me). I told him, “Rob, it’s people like you that make an ordinary bore extraordinary.”

That’s a bit over the top for some, but for me to dance and sing my way through Pathmark at 8:30 a.m. in a festive mood, is momentous. Here’s to Rob; the service he provides is no small task; it was my day-changer! I don’t get that at any other supermarket around. Now if he could only come to my house and put the food away. Nah, I’ll just put on some jams and do what Snow White does, whistle while I work.