I am just back from my first trip out in over ten days and I am traumatised !!
I had a puppy to deliver North around 150 miles away for an amazing family introduced to us through someone else who has a bulldog from our lines.
We have chatted over facetime, viewed one another’s houses, gardens and met each family member. It’s actually been quite a positive experience and one I intend to continue to be fair, so that wasn’t at all my trauma.
Waving my goodbyes ( from a safe 2m distance obvs) I was a bit chocked up and on passing a Tesco store enroute home, I decided to risk calling in for a comfort break and to grab some necessities that had been missed from our home delivery the night before.
I started off well putting on my disposable gloves as I left my van, found a trolley on the car park and being helpful set off with it towards the open door way. BOOM first mistake!
A smiley but firm body builder type security lady stopped me in my tracks and made me walk the windy snakey line, almost like the one you get at the airport while you wait in line for check in only not as well posted, to the other side of the open door way. There, a little lad looking like something out of a horror movie jumped out in front of the bodybuilder security lady and asked me to step away from my trolley as it hadn’t been sanitised. He swung another trolley at me and sent me on my way… shesshhh all these blue arrows and new etiquette (monkeyface emoji with hands over the eyes). I am not 100% established in the previous etiquette of shopping, I’m now totally thrown!
As I walk through the aisles, Steve rings to ask something and nothing. I feel like everyone’s eyes are on me as I saunter down the newspaper aisle speaking to him while perusing which magazine to buy my grandma this week to save her going entirely doolaly stuck in at home.
I quickly hang up on him when I realise that the lady next to me is a bit too close for my liking, not observing the blue arrows as requested on entrance to the store and therefore sending my anxiety through the roof that I might catch something from her breath spittle. I need to get what I need and get out of there!
I tried really hard to ignore my bladder, no way did I want to risk sharing germs with the great unwashed in the public loo’s but in the end I had to give in and asked the lady at customer services to watch my freshly sanitised trolley for me while I nipped to spend a penny.
It was a bit like a challenge from the old tv show gladiators attempting to cross paths with people coming away from the check outs. As I carefully worked my way through to the bright green “toilets” sign at the top of the store, I wanted to hold my breath, drop to the floor army style and crawl my way nimbly. If I thought for one minute my unfit body would have actually handled such a manoeuvre I may have done it just for a laugh but after over 3 weeks at home munching the way through our rations like there’s no tomorrow I didn’t dare risk getting down for fear I would roll rather than crawl and not be able to get back up. Instead I tried not to make eye contact while I “excuse me’d” my way through ignoring the tuts that I was following the arrows all wrong and declaring loudly that I just needed to pee and promises that I wouldn’t breath on anyone.
Safely into the customer toilets, washing my hands still gloved I felt very accomplished at being “antibacterial” about literally everything. I unzipped and relieved my now very happy bladder.
The next trauma came as I tried to re fasten my jeans. I whipped them back up and boom, caught the finger of my glove in the zipper and ripped the finger clean off !!! (the glove finger… not my own human finger !)
No one teaches you how to do practical things with these gloves on !! So now, finger torn and feeling exposed and giggling with nerves, I head back, hands in pockets to the customer services lady to retrieve my trolley. She looks at me like I’m clearly deranged as I approach her now full giggle and I dangle my naked finger to her with the ripped glove dangling. I saved her from the vison of the extra piece of glove now firmly fixed in the zipper of my jeans. She kindly smiles and without a word hands me a box of fresh gloves and I take them gratefully.
Now back on my blue arrowed road I make my way around the aisles, following the silent people with trolleys in front of me and carefully ensuring I don’t over step the two metre rule. I’m almost done when I decide to ring my elderly neighbour next door and just check she’s not in need of a door step parcel of rations. She gives me a list of things including flour and parsnips, all of which are back in the direction I’ve just come from, so not thinking I swing round and head down the aisle I’ve just come from- OH MY WORD!! …. The horror on the faces of the oncoming traffic was enough to bring me to a grinding halt. I quickly 180’d the trolley back around and zipped my way the full length of the store to work my way back through the arrows and find my way my way to the items I’d previously walked passed.
Trolley now loaded, I am so relieved to see empty conveyor belts with staff behind their little safety screens smiling as I approach one, she looks at me nervously and jerks her head to the left, as I look an assertive looking manager type with a head phone gestures to the top of the store where another airport type system is in place to bring you round to the check out … dutifully I nod, not a word is passed and I head through the snakes and ladders system once more to come to another lady behind a screen “how are you today?” she politely asks as I start to throw my items onto the belt like I’m now in some sort of race.
Stressed !! I reply laughing, it’s all very stressful.
With that, efficient lady barks at me “stand on the cross please” as I look down there’s a cross six inches to my left to be stood on while unloading your shopping, I jumped on it and then asked permission of my cashier lady to move round to re pack the shopping she had just scanned she smiled and nodded. By now, my anxiety is in my chest and I bugger the blue arrows and run with my trolley back to the sanctuary of my van and my antibac spray which I use liberally like I’m spraying the free tester pot or my favourite expensive perfume in Debenhams (RIP)
Sheshhhhh, I rang Steve as I pulled out from the car park, handsfree of course and said never ever again!! The panic of not knowing what was expected or what I should be doing, the anxiety of not wanting anyone to look at me or touch me or even be within 2 metres of me, the imagining of little germ like creatures sat on every persons clothing ready to jump on mine and infect me and my family almost flea like was just too much. And the silence ! No one wanted to make eye contact or even smile at one another, almost like that’s an admission of fear or weakness and the virus can infiltrate it like all the horror films you’ve ever watched rolled into one !!
I arrived home a few hours later and dived in the shower literally as soon as I walked through the door, straight back in my comfys and the sanctuary of home. I won’t be leaving again until the world is back to normal and I can happily lick the faces of my loved ones again without fear of retribution and all the blue crosses have disappeared into oblivion J