We went out! Funny how BC (Before Corona) we would pop out to the shops, or go get food. Now we refer to it as replenishing supplies, or an essential grocery run. All very “military speak” and for good reason.
While we are locked inside our little home bubble, things seem normal, okay normal-ish. I mean I have a permanent fort in my lounge as I moved the shed inside, screen time is not only allowed, it’s actively encouraged, my dining room is an office, and my stove top, which is partially out of my line of sight, is now a make shift scullery because I am driving myself crazy doing the dishes or packing the dishwasher all the live long day.
An outing is no longer an outing. It is a planned, coordinated military operation.
I complied my essentials list, packed the gloves, face masks, sanitiser, and for the first time ever, I actually packed used plastic shopping bags. That is savings right there people, with the added bonus of a smug smile when the hard-working brave cashier asks if I will be purchasing bags. Not today thank you, ma’am. Today I have my shit together. I have not just brought bags from home. I packed them in my car, and then remembered to bring them into the store with me. 2020 goals nailed.
When I am home too long, I have this thing where I get a little anxious about going out the shops. I should have been excited for the legitimate opportunity to get out. I mean I really needed bread and milk, and Lindt 85% chocolate. However, I have to be honest, I was more than a little nervous. Firstly going shopping with the kids is traumatic at the best of times so I usually try to avoid it, and secondly, going out now is really a reality smack in the face.
The roads are eerily quiet. We passed one car whose driver was wearing a mask, and then a police van. We did pass the old age home where two grannies were having a socially distanced chat over the balcony wall. It was heartwarming to witness.
The shopping centre can no longer be referred to as bustling. It too is eerie. There is always a queue. A quiet, well mannered, hesitant, cautious queue. Ava and I play “I Spy” – but the colour version – as she can’t spell yet, to whittle down the wait, which in all fairness is not that bad (The wait, not so much the I spy colour game) as we get to spy a whole different scenery for a change.
Aiden is being accommodating by staying at home on his PS4. Isn’t he so sweet and selfless? In other words, he was not in the least bit interested in getting all geared up, and standing in a queue. No, he would rather send us women out to hunt for his Pronutro. Luckily he is okay to stay behind as I usually get stopped by the grocery store police because I have Ava with me. They point to the warning sign and wave their finger in a “no no not allowed” direction. This is the part that is one of the most anxious for me; having to explain to security that I have no choice I am a single Mom and there is no one to look after my child. I have already left a 9 year old at home, I can’t leave a 5 year old home too.They let me through without so much as a flinch.
It’s usually at this point that my nerves are in full swing. I am now in the store and trying to find my list on my phone and the face recognition sign in feature won’t work because I have not set up the “face with mask on” version. The gloves are tight and sweaty now. The face mask is uncomfortable from a breathing point of view and don’t ask me why but it seems the harder it is for me to breathe, the harder it is for me to see. Suddenly I struggle to find items on the shelf and have to move my whole head up and down to scan all while being mindful not to park my trolley too close to another. Ava has tapped out of patience and before I have event reached the dairy isle is complaining “Are we done yet?”. No, we are not done yet. The Lindt is still three isles away. Arg.. kids!
On a side note it’s so weird, that even during Lockdown, with controlled number of people allowed inside, that I still get caught having to listen to the crazy lady, usually in the baking or spice isle, nattering away about her favourite recipe, and the secret special ingredient she can’t find on the shelf. Every time I swear, without fail.
Finally checkout! I must say though, it is a treat not to have to queue at the checkout and I can easily run off to find the two urgent things on my list I forgot to get. Usually Pronutro and Tomato Sauce. This is where I play a little game called The Grocery Gestimate. You have a stab at how much you think the trolley of groceries are going to add up to and then you take that number, divide by one, and then times 4. Voila, you should be close to the bottom range of what the actual total is going to be.
The word surreal comes to mind to describe this outing. Apocalyptic is another word.
As much as I am longing to be out and about, I am thankful to be heading home to de-mask, de-glove, disinfect, and decompress.