Shopping in the time of Covid.
I venture into my local supermarket and wipe down the trolley handles.
Everyone in this small country town is well behaved and move aside as you pass.
In the fruit and veggie section I come across an older man holding aloft a brace of tomatoes by the stalk. He looks bewildered
So I rip off a plastic bag, find the opening (with difficulty) and hand it to him. He is effusive in his thanks. As I walk away he calls out. ‘Do you know that all these fruits, these apples and pears are related to the rose? Treat ‘em the same as a rose.’ Well, well I did not know that.
In the next aisle a well dressed older local woman leaves behind a trail of exotic perfume. Her husband is following with one of the smaller trolleys…just for two. I keep coming across her as she whizzes around and I meet her husband at the milk shelves.
‘Hard to keep track of the dates isn’t it?’ he says as he inspects the bottles. ‘Do you know the date?’ he asks.
I just happen to as the next day is my mother’s and nephew’s birthdays…the 5th July.
He adds a bottle to his trolley.
In the egg section a woman is opening all the cartons to make sure no eggs are leaking or broken. A supermarket employee walks by and cheers her on. A large explosive noise comes from the dairy section. Someone has dropped a box. Two young girls, one pushing a pram with a baby I hope is not theirs, scream and shout ‘F…in hell!’ And carry on.
As I near the end, I see an elderly man, very pale and thin. He is wandering up and down and round all the aisles and has nothing in his trolley. It must be hard when you are alone and the shelves look overwhelming. I am sure he could not cope with online ordering.
A young girl packs all my shopping from behind her Perspex screen and I grab another wipe and head home to our farm, 45kms away.
While I have been in town three very long coal trains have rumbled past with a great deal of noise, shutting the main highway and local roads.
This is a metaphor for our town…a quiet rural town sliced in half by mining.
But Covid free.