Why is it that going to the supermarket these days feels a lot like being in a War Zone?
It’s stressful. There’s no two ways about it.
No longer is it a ‘jolly jaunt’ or ‘family outing’ to fill up the larder, with you nonchalantly leaving the house, no more than a passing thought of ‘do I have my keys, kids, wallet, phone?’ Nope. Oh no. Not anymore
Now you’re flying solo and there’s a whole lot more to remember.
Keys. Check. Phone. Check. Wallet. Check. Facemask. Check. Gloves. Check. Hand Sanitiser. Check. Disinfectant Wipes. Check. (If you are lucky enough to have them).
Wait. Do I need my passport?
Anyone else stressed already?
Ok. You’re all set. Now off you go.
Upon arrival at the supermarket, you play Russian Roulette with your life when selecting which shopping cart or basket to use. Choose wisely my friend.
Eeny meeny miny mo, was this one wiped down? I really hope so.
So you’ve picked a winner. Ok buddy, let’s go do this.
Off you trundle towards the entrance — but wait — you can’t go straight inside.
There’s a new line, and it’s outside.
You think about making a run for it. Then decide it’s probably best to follow the rules, so you stand in line with your fellow ‘grocery warriors’, all of whom are in full combat gear, ready to battle it out for the necessities — Toilet roll, Hand Soap and Bleach, Lysol, Dettol — hell whatever — disinfectant you can get your hands on.
Disclaimer: Please do not drink or inject disinfectant into your body.
(No matter what anyone tells you, that’s not safe).
Ok. So you’ve made it to the door. You pull out your shopping list, adjust your facemask and take a few deep breaths, ready to crossover into enemy territory.
Anyone else need a drink!
There’s an announcement playing on repeat over the tannoy:
“We are proud to announce that here at (insert supermarket of choice) we are practising the art of social distancing. Art??? Please stay at least 6ft apart from your fellow shoppers at all times. Wait what? The aisles aren’t even 6ft wide, how can I…. Please note that it is illegal to enter these premises without a facemask. Wow. This is crazy! If you do not have a facemask, please use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth. A tissue, are you kidding me? There are arrows to guide your shopping journey. Please follow the arrows.”
Now I really need a drink.
How nice, the frontline soldiers have given you a map to help you find your way through this new and foreign land, in the form of colour coded arrows, stuck haphazardly to the floor.
An unspoken: Please walk this way.
Up & down the aisles. Round & round you go, trying to evade your fellow ‘shopping soldiers’.
But wait, there are new and unexpected landmines in your way.
Discarded shopping carts are everywhere. They are filled to the brim with supplies — apparently abandoned by their owners — who now walk against the arrows, back down the aisle from whence they came, hoping to recover that so easily forgotten can of tomatoes or loaf of bread.
Seemingly the arrows are for carts, not humans.
You suspiciously eye the cart that is blocking your way, willing it to disappear with your mind, not wanting to touch it or move it, for fear that it might carry the virus.
Hey! Is that toilet paper in there? How did they get that? We didn’t do that aisle yet did we? Did I miss it?
Finally, you’re list is complete. Tired and weary, you approach the finish line.
Check-out here we come.
You look for the shortest line, which of course has a minimum of 17 people in it and there’s nowhere to stand, to maintain a 6ft distance, without blocking the aisles and walkways.
These aisles have arrows remember? You are now standing in the direct ‘line of fire’.
“Excuse me” you ask from 6ft away, through your facemask. “Excuse me, are you in line?”
Either they don’t hear you or choose to ignore you, so you decide to just join the Battalion and wait.
You’re eyes and your mind begin to wander…….What’s that?
Something shiny in the distance catches your eye.
‘Ooooh those cookies look nice. I think I need those.’ In the trolley they go.
Suddenly, the aisle feels like a gold mine of weird and wonderful things that you have never noticed before. How did I miss this?
Every 6ft you spot another diamond, on a shelf just in front of you, not quite within your grasp. Just a little out of reach. Just past your 6ft ‘stand to attention’ mark.
Slowly and stealthily you step around your bulging cart, hoping not to be spotted by the enemy, quickly grabbing that bag of ‘must-have’ candies that caught your eye.
Back to wondering…….Is this all a plot by the establishment? A ploy to use our ‘queue boredom’ and ‘quarantine mania’ to show us how much we need all of this ‘stuff’ in our life, especially now, to make everything a little better, life a little easier, the cupboards a little brighter? And probably our waistlines a little wider!
God forbid you get stranded in the alcohol aisle.
‘Mmmmmm I think I need some of that tequila….that scotch looks nice… what about that rum cocktail we had in Jamaica, maybe I could make that? Now, a vodka tonic could be just what the doctor ordered…hmmm… I don’t think I’ve tried Apperol before… a bottle of prosecco maybe? We’ll celebrate again one day, right?’
Finally, you approach the front line.
You’ve made it to the checkout without any visible wounds.
(Although it will actually take two weeks to know if you really made it out alive).
Here you are greeted by a facemasked and gloved checker with no possibility of keeping 6ft between you.
Quickly you unload your supplies. ‘Don’t judge me’ runs through your mind as you place your sixth box of cookies and twelth bottle of tequila on the conveyer belt.
Now, how do I get my credit card that is in my wallet, that is in my purse, without contaminating everything?
Should I take the gloves off? I can’t breathe with this bloody face mask on. Is anyone else really hot? I really must itch my nose.
You pack the groceries yourself — very inadequately I might add — well, at least that’s one less set of hands to touch your ‘loot’.
You’re almost there. All that’s left is to load the car and drive home.
Should I remove my combat gear before I get in the car?
Doesn’t matter either way. The car is still contaminated.
Aaaah, finally you are back at base.
Remember that place you so desparately wanted to escape from 2 hours ago. So much so, that even the supermarket had sounded like an appealing change of scenery.
So much so, that you had actually volunteered to do the weekly shop.
Won’t do that again will you?
Your heart beat starts to return to its normal pace, your shoulders slowly drop from up around your ears, and your cortisol levels begin to even out.
You are now in the safe-zone. But wait. The battle isn’t over yet.
Must complete final stage: Decontamination before entry.
Gloves on or off? Wash hands before or after? Can I take this facemask off yet? Should I bring the bags inside or leave them outside?
You shoo away the dog, the kids and your other half, with a ‘Don’t touch anything’ scowl.
Another hour passes, as one-by-one, you carerfully carry in and wipe down your wares with disinfectant and put them away.
Wait. How can we already have fourteen boxes of those cookies? Must remember to wipe down that door handle. Did I clean that bottle already? I really need to pee.
Wiping the sweat from your brow, you put your last bottle of tequila in the drinks cabinet and wonder if it’s too early for a cocktail?
Nah. It’s five o’clock somewhere.
A BIG thank you to all of our front line workers including but not limited to grocery store workers, those that deliver our mail, our packages and our take-out orders, and of course all of our brave Doctors and Nurses. Thank you.
This article is meant to make you smile NOT to create more stress. Please take it that way.
Claire is a freelance writer and content creator. For more articles like this please subscribe to www.fivereasons2.com
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