Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I see it happen in slow motion. In front of me a car backs from a car space into a car doing the same. The smash and gnashing of metal can be heard a street away. Expletives fly from windows and abuse charges up the rear, ready to slay and defile. I slink off into the shopping centre, grateful it wasn't me. 

Inside, I saunter down the first aisle. Time is a friend today - no pressing engagements. I busy myself in the vegetables, picking and choosing, dodging elbows and trolleys of those who are fighting the clock. A trolley wedges itself in my kidneys. No apologies from the driver - just a rolling of eyes and sucking of teeth as she extracts the metal from my flanks and moves on. 

I gather my things, nothing special - some things for the dogs, as well as some dinner for me. I stand in the queue as a man lets rip at the check out attendant. He quibbles over a yoghurt that should be on sale but isn't and he's not backing down, no matter what, and who cares that the line is now snaking back down the aisle I have just come from. My line is suddenly defunct over dairy produce, and  I question myself as to why I must pick the line with the greatest potential for snags. 

The man with the yoghurt is winning the war. He's beating them down for the thirty cent gap. The attendant applies that embarrassed fake smile that pretends that the customer always is right. I offer to pay Scrooge the thirty cent gap just to get him the hell out of the line.
"Pigs arse you's all about principle," he snaps at me.   I want to tell him its all about 'use bys' too, and could he please hurry up before my dinner expires, along with my patience. But I don't. I wait quietly, listening to the whispered complaints of my fellow shoppers behind me. It seems everyone is tired and cranky and in need of an afternoon nap. He struts away with a look of victory plastered over his miserly face. 

Outside, the abuse is still flying as the car wrecks untangle themselves, hurling blame and obscenities into the air as tow trucks hover like vultures waiting to strike. I pay for my things, glad to be heading home. I pass by a fat man wearing a suit the colour of cherries. He is swinging a bell and passing out sweets to pedestrians. He looks hot, tired and grumpy and also in need of a nap.  Seems everyone's cranky.  And so this is Christmas...

No comments: