It’s a weekend, which means a trip to the supermarket is in order for some impulse buying. I don’t need more food and booze, but there are some good deals on. I inherited that special gene from my late mother, you know, the one that means you are happy to spend a fiver to save a shilling!
For once the weather isn’t too bad, and there is a bit of football and rugby to look forward to on the box. I’m in good spirits, amble round chuck a few bits and pieces in my basket and join the queue behind two dear old ladies, almost certainly in their eighties.
Now, were this a midweek lunchtime and I had work to get back to, I would not join this particular queue. I would be muttering under my breath about retired old duffers being in the shops and banks and post offices in the only half-hour I can get there. However, in a decade, or hopefully less, I will join them and will make a point of going to the shops, bank, post office at lunchtime, just for the hell of it. It must be great fun!
I digress. It is not a surprise when these two rather frail and confused looking ladies take a while to pack their purchases. Even less of a surprise when the poor lass attempting to enter her pin number seems struck down by terminal amnesia.
From behind me I hear the first mutterings of one of the leaders of the scummy folk. “In yer own time missus“. Nervous smiles are exchanged with the cashier. “Anything I can do to help there?” I offer, thinking she may just be having difficulty seeing the keypad.
“Yeah, take her back to the home mate. I need to be at the pub by five. Senile old sod.”
I am now kind of pleased inside when, having finally settled up, the old girls remain rooted to the end of the till where you pack your purchases. They are carefully placing bags in the trolley, even more carefully putting cards back in purses, and I am sure I spot a sly grin exchanged as they look around a bit more, thank the cashier for her patience, and smile at me.
All this time I remain resolutely positioned beside my unscanned purchases giving them time and space to complete their manoeuvres. ‘You gonna chivvy ‘em along pal?” I remain deliberately oblivious and ignorant of the brains trust.
As my assortment of not many bits and pieces are passed down the belt, I carefuly place the bottles upright, then ‘accidentally’ knock them over in my bag, so that they need to be put upright once more. The packing process takes far too long.
“Get a wellie on mate for Christ’s sake” (or words to that effect).
I struggle far longer than is necessary with a debit card I know needs to be cleared of static to work properly. I thank the cashier for her help.
“Come on pal, it’ll be dark in a minute”
I cannot miss the opportunity when it presents itself. “Sonny,” I say to him, puffing my chest out to full girth. “I am eighteen stone and looking for someone to sit on. It could well be extremely dark for you in a second or two. Do I make my point?”
As he shrinks back muttering something that may have been an apology I am aware of a smattering of “here here’s” from around the tills.
I have his face imprinted on my memory. In retirement I will be looking for him again. One lunchtime, in the supermarket, or the bank, or the post office.