We went shopping this morning. I used to have to drive to shop, then we moved into the city. Now the car is a five minute walk from our apartment, ridiculous to use that, so I walk and carry everything back. The first time I made the rookie mistake of filling my trolley – by the time I got home I may have well as grown orange fur to complete the orangutan look.
Shopping in a lockdown is different. There’s no ambling into the store, dodging novice drivers and their freewheeling trolleys. Now we queue, tape on the floor marking our 2 metres from fellow shoppers.
It reminds Neil of the Full Monty scene, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4wuH9pSSRo) but the look on his face warns me not to try out my Hot Stuff routine. I do some knee bends instead. Inside the store is actually pleasant – no crowds, more food on the shelves than there was a week ago. With the odd exception, people don’t make eye contact, shirting around each other as though we’re all wearing crinoline skirts (and how much of a nightmare would trying to control a shopping trolley be with one of those hanging off your waist?) Some wear masks, one man with something that looks like standard issue for soldiers facing germ warfare. I suppose it means they are taking this seriously but, as I understand it, a mask doesn’t provide much protection unless you are wearing it correctly – which many people don’t – and you’re better off practising good hygiene, using liquid gold (sorry, hand sanitiser) regularly and not touching your face, then washing your hands thoroughly when you get home.
We’re allowed to shop for essentials. I’m curious what counts as such. Yes, food, but wo/man doesn’t need crisps to survive, or wine, and I bought both, so I’m glad we aren’t limited to very basic essentials. But we aren’t allowed to shop for anything else and, I wonder, what happens if something breaks? What do I do if my kettle stops working? (And I shiver in horror merely typing those words.) I may be a proud Kiwi but my roots lie in Yorkshire and no one can tell a Yorkshire girl that her morning cup of tea is not essential. And if I don’t get it… well, that’s not a pretty picture.