May 2020 Update
Corona Virus Times
I was 90 minutes behind my usual time when I nip over to Tesco’s on a Saturday morning. Because of this, the Corona-queue outside Tesco stretched about 300 yards, it reminded me of those old clips of film from Russia in the 1950s.
Against the “lock-down rules” some people are sitting at tables outside a nearby coffee shop, they are not not 6 foot tables either!
The cycle shop across the road was also open and doing brisk trade, but everything else, bar Tesco, was closed.
Anyway, as the hot sun belted down upon my half bald head I started to pant like a dog in the heat, sweat poured off me like an Amazonian waterfall. The three large handkerchiefs I had brought with me were soaked in minutes.
How To Gain 10 Stone
After just five or so minutes of this standing around behaviour my back starts playing me up as usual. I hate this shit. Because of my unbalanced body weight, which is front-loaded into my gut, my back has to take all the strain of my 22 stone frame.
I’m still not used to it, for most of my adult life I was 12 stone until about ten years ago when I gave up work and “medically retired” to a life of sitting at my computer all day and night, between taking 8 different medications a day.
Both my feet have nasty corns on them, I hate getting old, it hurts dudes. I removed them about fortnight ago, (the corns that is, not my feet), but they are back with a vengeance today.
After some ten minutes or so in the corona queue (it seemed more like a fortnight) my addictions start to cut in. I need a smoke, a cup of tea, I need to inject some H (only kidding about the H), so I light up a ciggy to pass the time and try to quell the non-logical part of my stupid brain that is trying to kill me physically and economically via smoking, much to the disgust of the nice ladies in front of and behind me in the queue.
Normally I would respect people that I don’t know, and not smoke near them, but I was quickly slipping into ‘I don’t give a flying shit’ mode.
The Nice Young Man
Four gallons of sweat later and I’m near the entrance door, but of course, I am the one that the nice young man on the door says, “hold on please”, and shuts the fucking door on me!
I’m always that mug, why? I must have a secret message that I can’t see printed on my forehead that reads ‘This idiot is a mug’, or something similar.
Eventually I get into the store.
There are several staff blocking my way in, they are talking to each other about some shit singing show on TV, Jesus wept!
There is no social distancing between them, and because they are unnecessarily in the way I’ve now made my first human contact of the day, and I’m most likely breathing in their droplets of saliva already, FFS.
I go and get my usual three newspapers, they should last me a week, and head to the tobacco kiosk. luckily there’s no queue there today. The usual girl is serving, Nicola, she is young, fairly attractive and normally polite, even to me, which is a little unsettling. I briefly wonder if she fantasizes about me? A 59 year old, balding fat geezer covered in sweat and having trouble breathing, um, on the balance of probability, most likely not I surmise!
Fleecing The Store
After I have spent a quarter of my fortnightly income on baccy, I start to feel a bit groggy.
I don’t think I’m going to be able make it doing another 20-30 mins wandering around the store with a heavy basket in one hand and my fleece jacket in the other. I had to bring my fleece for the use of its pockets to enable me carry all the shit that I need to take with me when I go out, you don’t want that list. It’s either my fleece or a man-bag.
As soon as the lock-down started Tesco had removed all the public seating from the store (to encourage people to bugger off home quick after doing their shopping I suppose). I used to sit down for a few minutes to recover after my shop in ready for the trudge home. I never realised just how much I would miss those chairs.
For the last few weeks I have had to sit on a wall on the way home to rest, or even the sticky benches on the high-street, and everyone looks at you as if you are a biological terrorist.
Where was I ?
Oh yeah, so I’m feeling like shit, so I asked Nicola if I could lean against the trolleys near the door for a few minutes to recover before my shop, as I felt over-heated and tired.
That’s all I said, I don’t think I was being a drama queen. I asked because everyone is supposed to keep moving, not hang about.
Nic looks me up and down and says, “have you any underlying conditions?”, already knowing the answer.
“Well I’m diabetic”, (I’m actually borderline but I just couldn’t be arsed to explain that), “and I’m waiting for my third heart attack”, I say.”
OK, so now I am being a bit of a drama queen, but it is true.
But on refection maybe I shouldn’t of said that, I think frightened the life out of her.
Note: See story Diary Of A Second Heart Attack
About To Burst
Nicola gets straight on to the staff walkie-talkie. I can’t hear what she is saying as I’m now leaning on the trolleys to ease my feet and back, and hoping to cool down a bit as I’m still dripping head to foot in sweat. I must of been quite a sight with my bright red head and face looking like I’m about to burst or something.
You Can Take The Donkey To The Water…
The next thing I know, the nice young man from the entrance door has brought me his chair and a bottle of Evian water, hey, nice touch I thought.
I really didn’t want that level of fuss though to be honest. I am an introvert after all.
Now the store manager comes over to me, “are you alright?”, “Do you need a first-aider, or ambulance?”
“No, no, thank you. I just need a few minutes and I’ll be fine thanks.”
I look at the floor to avoid the expectant looks I’m getting from passing customers who are secretly hoping I keel over, it would be the most excitement they would get in weeks probably, especially compared to the shit singing\dancing\cooking TV shows most people seem to watch nowadays.
I’m told by Nicola that the next time I come shopping there I should go straight to the nice young man on the door and they will let me in straight-away because of my conditions, ah that’s nice,
but in reality, by next week it will be a different person on the door and he will tell me to piss off and get to the back of the queue like every other turd-whistle has to, that’s how shit works for me, it always has. Don’t worry about it, I’m used to it.
So finally, I get to do my shopping and I notice (because I notice these things) that the manager is following me around the store, at a discrete distance, just in case I collapse I suppose.
Potential Shoplifting Tactic
On the other hand, he probably just thought I was a potential shoplifter pretending to have a near heart-attack 🙂 but don’t give me ideas!
Real Men Do This
So I finally get to the check-out. Normally I would use the self-checkout, but my back is giving me severe jip again and I couldn’t face all that bending over malarkey, so I went to the prettiest girl on a till with no queue, just like any real man would 😉
I still have the half-drunk bottle of Evian water in my basket. It was obviously given to me for free, but surely it would be mean and selfish to claim it as such and refuse to pay for it?
I could of dumped it on a shelf I suppose, but that didn’t occur to me until just now.
The thing is, if it was Tesco water, about 25p it’s not a problem either way, but Evian is just about the most expensive water in Tesco I would guess?
I still don’t know the price, it is probably about £1.60 or something similar, a price I would never pay for some water in the normal run of things.
In the end I just paid for it in my shopping, as I just couldn’t be arsed with the fuss of the till girl calling the manager over and the embarrassment of it all, but I’m wondering what other people would of done?
So far everyone that I have asked said they would not of paid for the water.
Pathetic Attempt At A Gag
£1.60-ish is not a piddling amount really. I could feed myself for a day on that, (though the coins would be hard on my teeth!).
Once I had packed my shopping, I said to the nice young lady on the till, “thanks for coming in to serve us.” and I got a nice big genuine smile off her. Ah bless her little heart.
In fairness to myself, last week I said it to one of the guys, so it’s not sexist or just because the girl was quite attractive.
As Winston once (nearly) said:
“Remember, this is not the end of COVID-19, this is not even the beginning of the end of COVID-19, but it may perhaps be the end of the beginning of Covid-19.”
Steve Bale. May 12th 2020.