WAITING

Waiting in the supermarket. Not much to do but wait. My selection of groceries is balancing precariously on the conveyor belt. I’ve tried to give a semblance of order to assist with its eventual packing. Cold stuff together. Boxes together. Fruit and veg stuff together. And now I just have to wait.

My eye casts round for something to distract me. The shop is full of the usual Sunday shoppers. Mothers who have popped in for a few bits. Dads with grumpy toddlers in tow. Young lads buying more beer than they can conceivable drink. And me – sneaking in the weekly shop so that I don’t have to sully my Monday with it.
The woman on the till next to me only has four items. Two bottles of Italian plonk, a bag of frozen garlic bread pieces and a packet of budget hay. I wonder which she actually came in for. I suspect the hay and picture a small, furry pet sitting in a dirty cage waiting for its weekly clean out. Maybe it’s the wine and the other things are needed later. I doubt it’s the garlic bread. I didn’t even know you could buy frozen garlic bread.
The woman in front of me has nearly finished loading her shopping into a hotpotch selection of ‘use again save the planet’ bags. I look again at the woman with four items and absently mindedly wonder why she didn’t go to the 10 items and less counter but she looks a bit distracted so perhaps it didn’t cross her mind. Maybe she really did came in for all four items.
I speculate about what people would think looking at my weekly shop. I gaze on it with a critical eye. No meat, no milk no booze, no chill cook stuff. Inordinate amounts of breakfast cereal and things to spread on toast. Yoghurt. How can one family consume so much yoghurt? Kitkats. Espresso coffee beans. Flour. A strange selection with no obvious pattern.
The woman in front has paid and is dithering about in the place where in need to stand to pack my shopping. I am momentarily irritated by her lack of thought and then check myself. Trolley rage is so undignified. No harm done. With practised speed I begin to pack into my ‘save the planet bags’ . One for cold, one for boxes, one for fruit and veg……I hand over my loyalty card, knowing that it means that they can monitor what I buy like Big Brother but shallowly attracted by the thought of free stuff. I pay without looking at the total. How dreadful is that? But it’s always about the same- the cost of feeding my family.
I smile wanly at the checkout girl and push my way past the grumpy toddlers, mission accomplished for another week. It’s a conveyor belt, life. I shuffle along from task to task doing what is necessary without really thinking. Is that how it should be? Well, that appears to be how it is.

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