Friday, 22 December 2006

Zen and the art of christmas shopping

This is the third year I've braved the throngs to complete our yuletide food shop. Miche gives me a detailed shopping list, organised aisle by aisle to ease my passage.

Christmas is family a event, not the shopping for it. So we've agreed that being the only car driver, I get to do it alone. I've got quite good at it. In fact I'd go so far as to say I'm developing a Zen like style to Christmas vittles shopping. I enter a state of imposed calm and resign myself to two hours of enduring the constipated trolley rage of others. I divert myself by watching them.

So, today I watched innumerate dead eyed men pass by me as they followed their rummaging spouses. I spent my time in pleasurable diversion, wondering where they might be hanging out inside their heads.

It was a pleasurable diversion indeed, until I was awakened from my reverie, mid vegetable aisle, by Chav Girl and her progeny. Her child, no more than four, was sat in its trolley extracting what nourishment it could from the sweets in its lap. Its bejewelled mother informed the surrounding hoards "That woman is the most indecisive bitch in the fucking world." She asked of us - "How long can it take to choose a fucking broccoli?".

Sorry no, she asked me. Directly. She was looking right at me. Now, I've long since become accustomed to being approached by the troubled - I must have the face of a 'mental health worker', but this one scared me. What with her kappa pants and mock gold earrings. I'd not the first idea how to respond. So I just looked at her.

By way of an impatient prompt, Chav Girl nodded over my shoulder. Compliantly, I looked behind and saw the object of her ire; A woman I could only assume was her mother. To whom else could she be so critical of without worry of the consequence?

So, I'm stood there like a rabbit in Chav Girl's headlights as her mother contemplates the relative merits of Brassicaceae. What well observed retort do I offer? What scathing rebuff do I give her for behaving like an arse?

"Phurr, yeah, like!" is all I manage.

I pick up a random vegetable and scurry off.


Tacking around the store our paths converged three more times. And each time Chav Girl rolled her eyes at me, transferring her frustrations to her mother right into my trolley. And each time we passed I watched her mother deliberate on the subtle differences between Lurpak or Country Life, Bernard Mathews or Tesco's own brand ham or normal versus low sugar strawberry jam.

So, How long can it take to choose a fucking broccoli then?

For the love of god...

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