Does anyone else get all flustered at the supermarket? We go to Woolies at Dickson, and it's always packed, no matter what time or day you go there. I hate crowds. I hate trolleys clashing and screaming children and slow geezers with those wheelie things.
Back in my hometown there was always an empty aisle where you could get a good run-up with your trolley then jump on it, and fly your way down to the checkout. No such fun here. It's all pressure, pressure, pressure.
There's always two dozen people waiting at the deli. I stand there with my ticket, I'm usually about 87 and they're up to 12. I always feel nervous and pressured when my number's about to come up. Last night I was only 19 (God help me) and by the early teens I started pacing and rehearsing my order over and over in my head because I just know I will stuff it up and trip over my tongue and go all red-faced and hold up the line and everyone will glare at me.
I like to marvel at the ugliness of some of the meats they have there. Last night I stared down a piece of brawn. Have encountered brawn? It's pink and sickly with thumbnail-sized chunks of fat in it. I wonder what kind or hybrid of animal(s) could possibly bring forth such an attrocity, and who the hell would ever buy it. I nearly missed my turn coz I was so shocked when number 18 bought half a kilo of it.
I love the beauty aisle. So many silly things that you don't need but you think you must at the time. There's a different moisturiser for every single bit of your body. My sister and I examine everything and talk too loud and laugh at our own jokes and attract annoyed stares. Last night I needed a toothbrush. The Colgate Professional ones were on special, and I found a funky silvery-grey one.
"I must have the professional one," I said, "For what use is an amateur toothbrush?"
Deoderant buying is always an ordeal.
"What one do you use?" said my sister.
"I'm into Rexona Cotton Dry at the mo, it's hypoallergenic and smells so fresh and pure."
"But do you get the stick or the roll-on?"
"I've tried both, but I prefer the roll-on."
"What's wrong with the stick? I've tried the stick. I like the stick. It goes on dry."
"Yes, but I prefer the reassurance of the roll-on. Sure roll-ons are moist, but if it's moist I know it's there and it's doing it's job."
She got the stick.
Tissues take awhile to buy, too. This was because as a child, my cheap-ass mother only bought Home Brand tissues, so I may as well have blown my snoz on steel wool. But now that I am free and independent, I take my sweet time buying tissues.
"Have you tried the Kleenex Aloe Vera ones?" I said to Rhi, "They're a caress on your nose. Like silk!"
She ignored me, but told me when we got to the dog food aisle that a guy was listening in and when I turned around, he scooped up the box, peered at the label, and put it in his shopping basket. I should have been a car salesman.
Nowadays they make things difficult by having all sorts of crazy designs on the tissue boxes. I am fond of a Sorbent box that has a classy black and white photo of a city skyline, while Rhi has a penchant for the polar bear box. There was a new one with geese and flowers and stuff in a lovely blue, but we deemed that "too mothership" and chose one with white tulips on it, sparkling with dew. Lovely.
I spend too long choosing dog food, and this worries me a little. I am sure passers-by think we're po' people and that's all we eat. And circa-1994 trackydacks and holey t-shirt do not encourage opinions to the contrary.
But Harry values the time I spend choosing his dinners. He likes the PAL Prime Mince & Pasta, as opposed to the more traditional chunky Beef and Marrowbone-type ones. And every week I get him one can of My Dog Beef Strips and Spring Vegetables in Sauce so he can feel like a pampered pedigree for awhile, instead of the trailer trash mutt that he really is.
The Fruit and Veg section makes me anxious. I can never find decent produce. I laboured over the bananas for ten minutes last night. You have to get the right balance of ripe ones for early in the week and greenish-but-not-too-greenish ones to last over the weekend. The pressure is too much. It's impossible to get the right combination.
The wait for a checkout is never any less than fifteen minutes, so there's plenty of time to lean seductively against your trolley and casually flick through an intelligent magazine. Except it's me we're talking about, and Woolies only has trashy magazines. Rhi was nudging me to check out a tasty male specimen as I read Soap World. I was scoffing at the news that Macy on Bold and the Beautiful may not have died in that inferno after all when Tasty Specimen came over our way. He picked up a magazine off the rack just as I snorted, "What a LOAD OF CRAP!"
He frowned at us like we're bugs then took his loveliness far, far away. D'oh.
And finally, payment. I never have cash on me, but EFTPOS makes me nervous. I fumble with my card. I always put it in the wrong way up. I get panicky that I'll forget my PIN, and end up pressing the wrong button. I've solved that problem now though, I just hit the Credit button and pay by Visa. That way all I gotta remember is how to sign my name. Sometimes even that is a challenge, I tell you.