Monday, 17 January 2011

Pedestrian matters

Now that my food shopping time has become so limited, the things that cause delays are much more apparent. And they matter more. No longer is it possible to do the shopping in a leisurely and considered manner, let alone have a little browse or to indulge in some temptation. Traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, the time taken to park the car, the order of the shops visited, the length of the queues at the supermarkets: all these things add to the duration of the shopping expedition.  There is also the issue of the pedestrian traffic.

Today while one of the carers looked after Dr P, I rushed off to do the food shopping. As I also wanted to look for a few new garments for Dr P, I went to the centre which sells cheap unfashionable men's clothing. Dr P has never managed to look very well dressed, partly because he is a very large and overweight man, and partly because it must be acknowledged that he has little or no aesthetic sensibilities. I have totally abandoned any efforts to make him look good. What he needs now are easy clothes - easy to put on and off, and easy to wash and care for. So he wears shorts and T-shirts. The shorts all have elasticised waists, and the T-shirts are the plain cotton basic sorts.

I came home laden with sundry new garments, but I think the shorts may be a size too large, and will have to be changed. This is what comes of being in too much of a hurry: obviously it rots your memory for the measurements of the best beloved. It gives you a horrid migraine too.

What with the extra shopping to be done, my time was even more limited than usual. I had to be back before the carer's time expired, and in time for my hairdresser's home visit. I went through the supermarket as quickly as possible. You cannot get through supermarkets with the speed of light, alas. They are designed to slow you down and to confront you with temptation for unnecessary purchases. There is always someone to dodge, or in whose way you find yourself, however innocently and inadvertently. Then there is the checkout queue. Which queue to join?  It is difficult to get the shortest and fastest queue.

Off to the the fruit, vegetable and delicatessen shop.  Half way through I changed my mind and wound up purchasing only two items. That was a bit of a wasted effort. Then to the fishmonger and then the butcher. The butcher took a bit longer as they had to cut up into nice thick chunks (at least I hope he have done so) the cut of beef I wanted, so I can make a nice Sri Lankan curry. It is quite a good butcher's, run by Chinese, who address all the female shoppers as 'Signora'.

In between all this I wended and weaved my trolley around the complex. I got stuck behind a couple of women who ambled in a wavering line right in front of me and who caused quite a pedestrian traffic jam. No one could get past them. The reason for the wavering line, apart from sheer inattention and imperviousness to their surroundings, was that one of the women was wearing very high heels, and thus was teetering along extremely unsteadily. It is bad enough pushing a trolley (with these specially designed wheels which go in completely opposite directions) laden with all the heavy stuff, such as orange juice, mineral water, milk, and detergent, downhill and around corners, without these people in the way. When I had finished, I had to push the increasingly recalcitrant trolley up a long ramp with a steep incline to get to the car park.

Let's face it, Woman is a beast of burden.

I am reminded of all the images of primitive tribes, where the men stroll along carrying only their spears, while the women lug along everything else, children included, and probably having to balance things on their heads too. The natural order of things?

But I do wonder why it is that so many people do not look where they are going, or take some care not to get in the way of other people. There used to be a simple rule - keep to the left. Not any more, it seems.

Tomorrow is Dr P's 87th birthday. I will bake him a cake.

2 comments:

saffronlie said...

Yes, supermarkets are annoying enough when you have time, let alone when you are a hurry. I disapprove of the self-check-out machines depriving people of jobs and human interactions, but will use them when I only have a few items as it is just so much faster. Have you tried doing the grocery shopping online? It could help free up your time so you can get more done while the carer is there.

Happy 87th birthday to Dr P! 87 years is quite an achievement.

Isabelle said...

I hope Dr P enjoyed his cake.

I find that people fall respectfully back before a woman on crutches. But I wouldn't really recommend breaking your ankle as a way of speeding up the shopping experience.