With cheapos bought and two books borrowed I made the long stroll to Asda's. A quick withdrawal from the hole in the wall, the loan of a quid-bit to get a shopping-trolley and then armed with my shopping list I went in. I'm so familiar with the lay-out now, it doesn't take long to gather up supplies I was soon at the checkouts and,like the well oiled machine that it is, my Saturday morning was on track but now, "head-palm", i cringe at the memory.
I found a checkout where a woman had almost emptied her trolley onto the conveyor and there was no-one waiting behind her, that would do and still i had not the slightest inclination of what was about to unfurl before me. How could I? I slowly shuffled forwards toward the till as the woman in front of me packed her shopping and turned my back to her as she punched in her credit card PIN.
My turn. "Thank you for waiting, do you need any bags?"
I thought of the story that recently appeared in my newspaper of the dying whale that was found to have thirty plastic bags in it's stomach.
"No I'm okay thanks."
As always, I had a backpack and canvas tote-bag with me. She gave a quick smile, started scanning my goods and i started to re-load my trolley. I can't be doing with loading bags in a hurry. I've been told that i'm more organised than most women . Does that mean that women are generally thought of as better/more organised than men? Whatever. Then it happened. Four hundred and sixty-two grams of Asda - rich & juicy - Sliced & Pickled- Beetroot, seven hundred and ten grams gross, slipped through my fingers and crashed to the floor with a dull thud. And they...don't...bounce.
"What have you dropped?" Asked she.
"The Beetroot." Said I.
"Oh dear." Said she, frowning.
I felt and must have looked like the boy who'd been caught with his hand in the sweet-jar.
"I'm sorry." I offered, squirming, wishing that the ground might open up and swallow me and the dark red puddle that was forming at my feet.
"It's okay sir, don't move, i'll call for a cleaner".
A cleaner promptly arrived armed with all the necessary equipment, mop bucket brush, a small plastic scoop and then the situation descended into farce. I stood and watched in amazement as the cleaner, not knowing that i'd paid for my shopping, unloaded my trolley back onto the chute. "Why don't i just back up and let the man back out this way with his trolley?" Asked a bemused shopper unable to grasp what was happening before her. She looked at me and I her, she seemed as stunned as i was, totally agog. Her eyes bulging and mouth wide open like some Fairground Goldfish.
"You'll have to take your shopping to another checkout, you can't come through here."
The cleaner instructed as she busily set up the "caution slippery surface" cordon.
"I'm not going anywhere. "
snapped the woman who by now had become distracted by something on the high ceiling directly above her.
Eventually the bemused shopper backed up, i took my empty trolley through an unused checkout and returned to gather up my shopping.
"Do you want a replacement jar" asked the girl on the checkout?
I desperately wanted to say no, i'm like that, but i had to have beetroot.
"Erm, yes please",
i begged apologetically.
"No problem, i'll call somebody to fetch one".
With my replacement jar safely in my trolley i moved away from the checkout and started to pack my stuff.
"You knew what I meant, didn't you?" Pleaded the woman who'd waited with her shopping.
" Don't go there." I sighed wearily. "Yeah, i knew."
"Well why didn't you back me up? I'd have been right?"
Been proved right more like it. A small victory had escaped her it seemed. I just shrugged my shoulders and made for the cigarette kiosk to by a lotto ticket although with my luck, i did wonder about the wisdom of such a purchase.
I stood in the queue and waited and as i did so i felt something, or rather somebody, brush my arm.
"I'm still livid".
The shopper from my mishap situation announced in passing and i just had to laugh and with such joy and free abandon. It had been so long since last i laughed like that and in spite of everything, i liked her. I DO hope that our paths cross again, among shopping the aisles perhaps,and that we might recall what happened.
Okay,it's a mess, i'm a mess. I know, it's a load of bull and as a piece of writing, or attempted piece of writing, you could pick holes in it all day long. All the same, i needed to tell it and that's why it's a blog.