I’ve got a mystery on my hands. Brains are weird things and sometimes we’re capable of missing things right in front of our face, but I feel like my brain is only reacting to reality and what I haven’t seen. Which is my neighbors never go grocery shopping.
The Baader-Meinhoff phenomenon is a cognitive bias that happens where once you’ve noticed something for the first time you start to notice it more often. Basically, once you’ve discovered something new you start to see it everywhere around you. Usually this is harmless in nature, like when after I bought my Ford Fusion car in 2010 I started noticing way more Ford Fusions on the road. Even though this is harmless, I’m beginning to have a bit of an existential crisis because I’ve never seen my neighbors with groceries.
I don’t live on a main road, so I can see roughly 5–6 neighboring homes from my living room window. Every time I come to my screen door and look out at the property I own I feel like James Stewart in “Rear Window” or Shia LaBoeuf in “Disturbia”, but that’s neither here nor there. Of those 5–6 homes that I can see, I’ve only seen two of them ever bring in groceries, and one of those homes is now vacant. The vacant house’s grocery runs were unmistakable because a giant Eat Clean Bro truck would pull into the driveway every two or three weeks with new food for a human to eat. That brought me peace.
I’ve been in this home since September 2020 and I’ve been working from home five days a week for that entire 18-month period. Personally, we go and get groceries every two or three weeks and I think that’s a normal timeframe to need more groceries. I’m not looking for my neighbors to go grocery shopping every day, so I don’t think I’m being out of line for wondering why I’ve never seen them with a Publix or Kroger bag ever. Do people spend more or less time than that in between trips to the grocery store? My next-door neighbor has a dog, so when are you buying more dog food? Are you using Instacart instead? And if my neighbors are going the wholesale route like Costco or Sam’s Club, wouldn’t that be even more noticeable?
I hoping that a reverse frequency illusion happens where now that I’ve written this newsletter I start to see grocery store runs all the time around me. I don’t like feeling like I’m surrounded by NPCs in the matrix or some other alternate universe where humans don’t need groceries to live. I need to believe in humanity to believe in a future where other humans don’t lead to the end of the planet by 2030. Is that too much to ask?
For the love of God, can someone around me buy a Pub sub?
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