I survived.

Venturing into the supermarket, after queueing in the rain for a while, I surveyed the supermarket I was once familiar with but now appeared so distant. We walk down each aisle, in a trance: watching for that separation of 6 feet – equivalent to an expensive sofa or couch – trying desperately to remember all that we were going to buy.

…two people come past, invading our space, reaching over to get to the wine, now offered at reduced price. As if the wine wouldn’t be there in a few minutes time – it isn’t pasta or flour…

Forgetting an item is critical, as we are not allowed to backtrack, or re-trace our steps.

I watch as the person ahead of us is gently swaying to the piped background music. I mention that, in a joking manner, I wasn’t aware that this was a workout as well, and they say that the opportunity to get out is wonderful.

“If I wasn’t here I would be indoors.”

Interesting how a supermarket aisle, near to the crisps and biscuits I believe, could be so alluring these days.

Ah, along the next aisle, two people come past, invading our space, reaching over to get to the wine, now offered at reduced price. As if the wine wouldn’t be there in a few minutes time – “it isn’t pasta or flour” I say to myself.. They move down the aisle, together, and join the queue much further down the shop.

I start to think why we might act so differently. I feel compelled to give people that separation, that safety distance. I have found myself not buying items on the essential shopping list – chocolate biscuits are on the essential shopping list aren’t they? My amnesia is possibly down to frantically keeping that separation as I don’t want to contract Covid-19, nor give it to someone else. I am so concerned that onward transmission could well be…deadly.

One person yesterday walked by me stating that “they weren’t going to die, so it is alright fella“.
Really pleased for you‘ I thought. Then I wondered whether they were actually as anxious I was, just didn’t want to show it, express it in public. We have been so confined that we may feel that to show that sort of emotion, of concern is not acceptable, because we may be – dare I say it – bored with the news, perhaps saturated with the news of more and more deaths that we can’t rationalise the situation.

The term ‘unprecedented’ is often heard in news broadcasts, politicians seemingly like to use it frequently. Possibly I have to understand how others are feeling currently. They may not be able to express it outwardly, but inwardly they are also hurting. There are very few of us who are demonstrably ignoring the guidance. We are all coming to terms with this new world…and will be for a few more weeks to come.

9 thoughts on “Aisle Anxiety

  1. I find myself particularly cranky at the moment, and wondering why (in a grumpy and judgemental way) that the people who look the most vulnerable, and are still out and about, are the ones ignoring the rules. Like wondering why the smoker with a walking impairment is there at all, surely with their lungs they need to stay away; and likewise, the little elderly lady who barged into me several times with no sense of space and then asked me to reach for an item on the top shelf, which of course i politely handed down to her, although did not manage to wipe it down before handing it over….

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  2. I had a more positive reaction to my aisle anxiety this week when I went shopping. I found it more amusing. The music seemed extra loud because of fewer people in the Store, so I even found myself singing along with it at times. And I thought of us as dancers…., side stepping here, stopping at points when people needed to look hard for an item on the shelves, moving forward again a couple of paces… smiling to let someone swiftly pass by…..yes this week it felt more like dancing…..

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