08/02/2011

Trolley Madness

Note to philosophers: not going to bang on about the trolley problem.  No: 
this one is about Supermarket Trolleys!

So I hate shopping. I normally didn't use to do the weekly shop: it was 'Im indoors' job. From when Max was a baby, and all through his unmanageable years, he'd take him to our local superstore, and battle the crowds to bring home the necessities of life (booze, toilet paper, and a few vegetables). I would contribute by occasionally doing an online shop ('Im indoors isn't that good with computers: but don't tell him I said so ...) and producing a really snazzy shopping list on which all you have to do is highlight the things you need.

But things have changed.

'Im indoors does the bulk of the taking Max to Autism Central (time table thing), so I do the shopping. Sometimes I go with Max, who's no longer unmanageable, generally very helpful and only occasionally gets lost and takes a taxi home alone.

Sometimes I go alone. And that's when things don't work out so well. I'm not too good with directions, spatial awareness, and all that jazz. It takes me about six months to remember where everything is - but they move their shit around every three months. Also, I'm not good with crowds. All these souls, worrying about what they're going to eat, whether the baby is going to have a tantrum, whether these boots will actually be waterproof, of if they should try and buy that t-shirt this other person is looking at - they don't like it, but it's the last one. They make an awful lot of noise. They're everywhere, pushing, objecting, complaining. And that's not even the supermarket people who haunt the frozen aisle, and the washing powder one, waiting to pounce on you to ask you why you won't try a new make of stuff you don't even need. Frightful.

There's one way out, though. One way to avoid them all, which doesn't involve virtual trolleys, is the iPod way. I plug my ears, put the music on loud and suddenly the people disappear. They're just shadows now, without a care in the world. If they try to push past me at the fruit and veg weighing counter, I just push back with as little thought as if they were a branch in my path. The people waiting to tell me I should buy different fish fingers, or try some no doubt disgusting frozen fish cake - well, I can't hear them, so what do I care!

But the best is the trolley. When I'm unplugged, a shopper amongst others, pushing an increasingly heavy, and awkward trolley that won't turn properly, I curse to myself (maybe I curse aloud sometimes, but it's in French, so no one understands.) But with my iPod on full blast, when I'm surrounded by a bunch of automatons, I don't push, I run with the trolley, doing sudden stop-and-turns, or I push it along, following the rhythm of whatever song I'm listening to. Hey, sometimes I might even sing along.

The good thing about this system, is that if you meet a real person, they stand out very neatly against the shadows. So I saw and old friend, and I stopped instantly. We exchanged news, and talked about starting a reading group again, something I've been wanting to do for a while. I think it may even happen. I'll keep you posted.

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2 comments:

Erin said...

An LOL'er!

'Im Indoors said...

'Im indoors isn't that good with computers: but don't tell him I said so ...

because he simply yawn a yawn wide enough to swallow a rhinoceros, and say 'Really? I'd never have guessed Sandrine thought that...'

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