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Running on empty.

"There are none so blind as those who will not see." We've all, most of us, heard that old adage and although I might be taking it slightly out of context here, maybe not, it kind of relates to a situation that I shall attempt to convey. You decide.

His weekly routine is set in stone so to speak and he might complain that at any given time in the near future he can confidently predict what he'll be doing, where and why. Work and sleep times five. The sixth day shopping. Seventh day resting then repeat. That's hardly cause for complaint, depending on how we each of us see things, it is what it is.

And so it was, for the umpteenth time, on what was just another Saturday morning, after having worked a Friday night shift and dozing off on the bus going home then receiving a welcome wake-up call from the friendly female bus-driver, making the short walk from bus-stop to house the "old" part of town, he kicks off those damned boots, to be replaced by a pair of comfy shoes, sits and rests for a few minutes enjoying a cup of hot strong tea whilst putting together a shopping-list from scribblings gathered from the previous week, before heading out on the next bus to Stugely. Lidl and Asda here we come.

He writes his lists but by the time he gets to Lidl's he has a pretty good idea of what he wants, where they are and he doesn't dawdle. Talk about "Sparrow's wedding", he's usually, makes every attempt to be, in out and away. Sure there can be hold-ups and with age he has become more tolerant of people ambling down shopping aisles two abreast perusing offers of the day blissfully unaware of shoppers wanting to "get on with it and go home" and causing him to come to an abrupt halt. He takes it all in his stride now but it was at one of these interruptions to his day the strangest thing occurred.

As he walked down the aisle between cheap gardening tools and fresh fruit he came upon two shoppers, their trolleys one on either side , leaving barely enough room for one to pass between them and an elderly woman, who was he to call anybody "elderly" ? He's in his sixties for God's sake, she was probably, in his estimation, well north of mid-fifties, was approaching from the other direction.

She saw him and took a step back, as any polite person might, but as she did so he reciprocated with a sweeping movement of his left arm insisting that she should go first and then the strangest thing happened, maybe not so strange, she threw back her head and almost skipped through the narrow gap like some giddy adolescent.

"I've seen you nipping round" she said as she drew level with him smiling from ear to ear. She wore an ankle length skirt and he was struck by her easy, what he could only interpret as a hippy happy flower powered mother type but she obviously wasn't a flower child of the sixties.

Had she indeed ?

He simply smiled at her and then went about his business as though it had never happened. He'd been fazed like a rabbit caught in the headlamps of a car in the night darkness, didn't know how to respond, and now, with the benefit of hindsight and a night's sleep he regrets that and he wonders if she's wondering to. It was only when he finally got home and had rested that he gave the matter any thought.

She had seen him? What did she mean by that? Was she, had she been looking at him from a distance? Would she be watching out for him now? He wondered. What did it all mean? Nothing probably. Just one cheerful human being interacting, or rather attempting to interact, with another. What if she's there next week? What if she sees him and what if they, he and she, make eye-contact? This has clearly got him rattled. He doesn't know how to deal with this. Just smile and try not to offend he tells himself. He will probably have forgotten about by next weekend anyway. He'll turn up at Lidl's next week at that will be that. Silly old bugger.

The trouble is that it's so easy for him to imagine that, because he is so tired simply going through the motions, running on empty and just wanting to go home, if he sees no one, no one sees him. A clear case of head firmly in the sand and much ado about nothing.

Life eh?



I found this a talented write. Few can capture ordinary moments so well.
It's funny how the more I look at this the more I want to edit/re-word certain sentences but never mind it's out there now.
Perhaps sas an I (an some others) will pop over with hidden cameras next week to see what happens.
dith... do you remember that poor sod ( some time ago; gawd, when was that?) that barely put two words together? He's come a long way. Good... It's good( the writing).
Next week, oh dear, I don't dare think about that. I can't be bothered to run away and I'm too settled in my ways to change my shopping habits. If I could just strike up a conversation with someone like her or a bloke even, believe me, it could be a life changer.

We shall see eh?
Trying to figure out what other people are up to is hard.
Is what it is then, right...

I know this sounds ridiculous, but it would be liberating if you could just type what you wanted to say,on a voice synthesizer, while out and about. You have a wonderful way with words. They shouldn't be lost.
What I want to say as a response you mean?
Different situations require different responses sas?

Not so long ago I would have simply found some place else to shop. Now if my smiling and walking away offends? Well? I'm sorry, they'll just have to deal with it and that really is, was, always has been, the bottom line I'm afraid.
I would say that woman's interaction was in the positive category...pleasant, actually. I like pleasant. It's better than just plain, or neutral, certainly better than negative; like seeing a bird sing, nice. You captured the experience well.

I doubt anyone would be offended by a smile & walk on response. But, it seems that is not really what you'd like to do.

I am a very solution oriented person. Even though this seems odd, consider wearing dark sunglasses, even in-doors, while out shopping. (You can say you have light sensitive eyes) I say this because upon re-reading your post, I noted "seeing" is of import. It's said our eyes are windows into ourselves, which may make you uncomfortable, so perhaps pulling a "shade" would help you converse.
I wear glasses that react to light.
It's a ridiculous situation it really is, I mean, she spoke to me. Right? And I doubt that my responding or not matters anyway.
Maybe our paths will cross again and if she speaks I shall try to respond.
It all seems so pathetic and as for my breaking out of my shell, at my age, yes it still matters I'm afraid. Put it on my bucket list.

I have thought about going out with a brown paper bag over my head. REALLY!
That is a very enjoyable piece to read, a tribute to your writing ability.

Supermarkets are the modern forums of life. I get a lot of inspiration from trundling a trolley around the supermarket behind my angel, my experiences usually being comments from other shoppers about the totally vacant look on my face.

You have one clear advantage over me, that if you meet the lady again you will no doubt recognise her. With my aphantasia I find it very difficult to recognise people and one chance encounter like that would not register in my memory. I would know that I met a woman, but wouldn't be able to describe anything about her afterwards except specific facts that I thought about at the time. For some reason my brain only recalls facts, not images. The one thing that I do recall is sounds, voices and music, so I would be more likely able to recall her voice than a single thing about her appearance.

That's why I walk around with a totally vacant look on my face, because I don't know who I ought to recognise, so it's better if I pretend not to see anybody. Even if I do recognise someone I may not know why or who they are.

Enjoy and indulge your observational powers. They are an asset that many people just take for granted.
Yes, you do not want to be "seen".

So, try not to dismiss the sunglasses suggestion. I wear prescription lens. I am too cheap to have prescription sunglasses, in addition to regular glasses. In grocery stores, drug stores and Walmart sunglass clips are sold that just clip over regular glasses. They now make these cheap clips for not only wire glasses, but the plastic frame ones. Also, there are plastic sunglasses that totally slip on top of regular glasses, too. They originally were given to people to use after cataract surgery. Now many use them everyday. Also sold in regular stores. Google them.

Humor me. Try it. Beats a paper bag, unless you can draw a cute face on it to make others smile. Making others smile is a great opener, though.

I DO or DID have a pair of those clip-ons somewhere but do I really want to go that far? sas, at the time of my having this,this, what? Experience? I'd been awake for about nineteen hours. I was fookered mate. If there's a next time.... Well? I shall try.
Glasses... Someday they'll have glasses like Swartzenegger in Terminator. The computer will hear and come up with option-appropriate verbal responses registered inside the glasses giving percentages of desired receptiveness and effect on or by the other. Obviously, it would show several optional categories:
Reply with general politeness
reply with witty comeback
reply with insultive comeback a) overt b) subtle
reply with sexy comeback a) male b) female c) gender undetermined.
Really, dither? You only want general politeness? Not to get laid? Or, engage in hot necking (a lost art form now), which I think is far superior to getting laid. Come on, try to sell me on your desire for politeness. You've a way with words, but don't think even you can sell me that.
chance would be a fine thing.
I can't deny that even now, I think about sex, I might be old but I'm not dead, but do I really want to? Would I? REALLY?
You're kidding, right? I am 73 and have sex. My sister has sex at 78. Real sex, too. The kind where you kiss first. That seems to be the missing step these days, or so friends have said.

When my partner's mother was 86, I asked her when sex ended. I said it seemed to be a big fat secret that the elderly kept. She laughed, but readily answered, "At about 80." I was so fucking disappointed. Really. Way too soon. Worse, way too near.

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