I think we have all pretty much decided that lockdown is tedious. We are by nature a gregarious species and spending most of our day trying to avoid human contact isn’t something that comes naturally to us.
For me it’s the visits to supermarkets and food shops that exacerbate the bizarre nature of life in the Covid era. I visited Tesco the other day. There wasn’t a queue so I was able to grab a trolley and after disinfecting the handles head straight into the store.
I needed a few basic essentials – you know the sort of thing – loo rolls, milk, butter, bread, washing powder etc. I won’t lie, I also thought I’d grab a few bottles of vino on the way round.
All around there were masked shoppers traversing the aisles – some looked fairly relaxed, others had that haunted look in their eyes, like soldiers waiting to go over the top in WW1.
Some people it must be said are better trolley drivers than others. The more dexterous can manoeuvre through relatively small gaps at reasonable speed, others are more hesitant. Keeping a safe gap between trolleys is challenging. But it’s the quandary about when it’s safe to overtake that seems to cause the most consternation.
My strategy is to begin the overtake early, pick up decent momentum and glide past as quickly as possible. It normally works well, but on my most recent lap I hit a problem.
It started well, a quick check in my rear view, and I began a wide, sweeping manoeuvre to overtake two elderly ladies who had stopped to chat opposite the toiletries section.
Then it happened.
Out of the blue I sneezed loudly. It came on so quick I had no time to react. Well, it was like the world had stopped. Trolleys all along the aisle were halted and dozens of pairs of eyes focused on me like laser beams. The fact that I could only see the eyes made it worse. They were full of hate. I was the boy racer who had overtaken an ambulance at a zebra crossing.
For the rest of the circuit I felt about as popular as a Manchester United fan cheering on my team from the Kop. It must have been the trauma because I forgot the toilet rolls and the butter, though I’m pleased to report that by the time I reached the wine aisle I’d pulled myself together.
We are indeed in strange times. The latest craze is for people to dress up in Dinosaur outfits to walk the streets and cheer people up. They’ve been spotted in the UK, Spain and other European countries. We even have a lady here who is doing her bit to cheer up the Island’s children. Good luck to her! Let’s hope the link with extinction is purely coincidental.
Then there’s the poor woman in the UK who told her office she was working from home and that evening switched on the TV news to see herself strolling past the reporter doing a live broadcast outside a Debenhams store.
Well, now that the vaccines are being rolled out around the world, we have real hope that this grim pandemic can be consigned to history. Maybe in a year’s time an unexpected sneeze in a supermarket will prompt a cheery ‘bless you’, from fellow shoppers. Here’s hoping