Hello dear readers. I write this as I try to calm my nerves and steady my racing pulse – my heart is at this moment trying it’s very best to pump large quantities of blood around my poor aging system at record pace. I’m sorry to say that this is a quite regular occurrence and had absolutely nothing at all to do with a good old dose of healthy exercise (I gave that up years ago once I’d worn my knees out pounding the roads – yes I was quite fit at one point many, many, many eons ago). Nor is it the result of some congenital malady (though I have studied the statistics and according to various ‘authorities’ I am now a prime candidate for some kind of coronary attack – I just have to wait and see which particular variety I will be gifted; I’m not sure which one I’d prefer (none if I really had a choice) but I think if I am going to shuffle off into another universe then I’d much prefer the version one of my all time heroes, John Peel, was unlucky to suffer, very briefly: the drop down dead in your tracks variety –I know it doesn’t give much chance for ‘good byes’ but it saves any lingering pain (and when it comes to any pain I am a complete sissy).
No dear readers, the real reason for my increased heart rate and red face (a bane for all us fair skinned folk – I think I even have a few freckles left under those hard earned lines), is my usual Saturday morning shopping trip. Now unlike many people I actually like shopping, I enjoy the discovery of a bargain amongst the rotting oranges and putrefying tomatoes. I even enjoy listening to the music, sometimes tunes I wouldn’t normally give the time of day to get my feet fair skipping across the mottled tiles!
Yes it can get a little boring doing this activity every Saturday, so I do like to vary the routine a little by rotating my visits to two or three large supermarket chains (I couldn’t possibly mention Morrison’s, ASDA and, when I’m feeling a little flush with cash, Tesco). I have to profess to a pride when it comes to ASDA and especially Morrisons; both are of course born and bred in West Yorkshire just like me and Morrisons is actually from my home town of Bradford! I once, up until a very short time ago, walked my dear beloved dog past their head quarters twice daily (and he took great pleasure in anointing the haloed ground). I still like to shop there, it reminds me of home (not the actual lay out or colour schemes you understand, I don’t have swathes of yellow decorations at home and I don’t pipe Take That into every room; no I like to read the Bradford address on their own brand packaging, it almost brings a tear to my eyes).
Despite the differences in branding and sometimes culture that these establishments have, they do unfortunately attract a type of creature that, were I to meet them in normal circumstances (riots, cocktail parties etc) I would probably end the evening having found my long lost soul mates. But place them amongst the aisles and products of your typical supermarket and they turn into ‘shopping cows’.
Like their bovine name sakes they are more likely to fix you with a ‘dead’ stare than acknowledge your existence and just as likely to barge into you, sending you face first into a carefully arranged display of custard creams (which I’m not keen on incidentally – I much prefer anything with coconut, though I’ve never actually tried a real coconut, I think the hairy outside puts me off).
There is nothing worse when you’re intent on winning that week’s Supermarket Grand Prix or at least beating your fastest time (so far 40 minutes and 20 second for a full family shop – I did lose a few packets of cereal along the way and a bunch of bananas but they were bruised anyway), than a ‘shopping cow’ lumbering into your path!
But I’m a naturally calm person, I can see that their minds are elsewhere, perhaps still sat at home waiting for the X Factor or calculating if an extra tin of beans is maybe a little too expensive given they have already splashed out on quilted toilet roll. So I let the anger and disappointment simmer, gather myself to continue and then get back into action – sometimes I find that the rush or adrenalin actually helps me and I do manage a faster time! Today though was quit appalling and I forgot the sausage rolls, the ‘cows’ were everywhere!
Anyway I can feel my cheeks losing some of that red heat and I think my heart is slowing (but hopefully not too much). Now where did I put those coconut macaroons?
Copyright John D Rhodes 2011