The grocery store where I shop every few days just changed my least favorite aisle, the pet supplies aisle. With four cats, we go through a small fortune in cat chow, cat litter, flea and tick collars, and the occasional bag of catnip. The dreaded aisle was previously dog items on one side and cat items on the other. There was a small shelf space for pet toys, fish food, and seasonally, wild bird seed and suet.

I am now a total believer in synchronicity for the following reason: I'd been listening to an older CD of Springsteen, Lucky Town, while driving my husband back and forth to the Adult Day Care Center, then up to visit my Mom. Stopped in the liquor store for wine and same song was playing. Then across the main street to the grocery store, where Bruce was crooning again. All of this good music in my head made the totally turned around pet supplies aisle seem a kinder, gentler place.

What I've found is that this is the aisle where the crazies tend to linger, filling their shopping carts with the most expensive, super-small cans for Tootie or Rubin or Diamond, whose owners are aghast when I hoist up 20 lbs of generic cat food, saying something like, "My cats are lucky to have a warm house." The comments and suggestions border on a comedy skit.

I also buy a 40 lb. box of store brand clumping cat litter; you should hear the reactions to that. I actually used to feel somewhat guilty, just trying to save a few bucks. So, because the oldest cat is not well, I purchased one can of soft salmon cat food. Then I thought maybe catnip would relax all of the cats. There were two kinds, $1.99 for Krazee Kitty premium catnip and $5.99 for organic catnip. I must have said aloud, "You gotta be catnip?"

Three heads turned, the one closest to me said, "That is so absurd. Buy the cheap stuff." Then, of course I had to tell her about my sick cat and she told me about her Hurricane Sandy kitten that just showed up at their door. The best part was when we both said we've always had cats and were never allergic, but now we are, and we're the ones who have to deal with them. She gave me advice on what OTC meds were helpful to her. And I left, converted, from ethnic foods and produce to pet supplies, as my favorite aisle.

At the express cash register, the odd assortment of wild bird seed, suet, catnip, portobello mushrooms, Friendly's rich and creamy Coffee Cookie Crumble ice cream, and smoked oysters, plus a bunch of bananas made me feel somewhat self-conscious, as if I were a stoner. The young man who checked my order out called me Miss, which when you're tired and over 60, and life is too much helps more than you can imagine.

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