I am standing at the automatic doors, drenched from the downpour, which opened up from the heavens just as I was making a mad dash to the supermarket.
Going to the supermarket — one of my pet hates. Oh, the frustration and stress that takes hold when I have to venture to the hallowed halls of the holders of our food.
Tangling with the traffic, doing circle work in the carpark looking for that elusive parking spot. There are only two spots left — one for mothers with prams and one for the disabled and, having been brought up to feel guilt about anything even slightly inappropriate, I cannot bring myself to snaffle these spaces and envy those stiletto-heeled power women or pinstripe-suited corporate giants who, clearly sans baby pram or disability, sail into those treasured spots always closest to the automatic doors, feeling no shame, instead walking away from their expensive imported SUVs bathed in a natural aura of ownership to these treasured spots. But not I.
I continue my circle work until that corner spot on the far side of the carpark suddenly becomes vacant and I burn rubber to claim before the other circle workers spot it and swoop like hawks on a rabbit.
Time is against me. I make the mad dash across the tarmac. Higher forces spot me and send forth a dearth of rain to rival the 40 days and 40 nights pelting on my head.
Drenched but undaunted, I make my way into the supermarket. As I had only planned to be a few minutes (oh how you laugh) I had ventured out without make-up and garbed in my favourite trackie dacks because I was going to be real quick and won’t see anyone I know. Wrong.
This whole dreaded process has taken much longer than I planned and now school is out. I am gripped with fear. As a part-time teacher, I know those students will be waiting at the checkouts, judgement streaming from their eyes. And parents, who you only just finished convincing at the recent parent-teacher interviews, that little Johnny and Jane are showing signs of genius under your dedicated tutelage. Buggar!
I grab a trolley and head into the fray. Of course, my selected beast has a wonky wheel, which threatens to spin off every time I make a sudden move. I can’t change it because I have entered the realm of no return (without actually passing by the judgement-passing students manning the checkouts).
Turning at the dairy aisle, of course, I am greeted by a parent who remembers me better than I remember her and breaks into a opus about the genius little Johnny/Jane, who is clearly on the rode to Nobel prize winning futures.
I gather my few items of need after carefully checking the labels for country of origin and contents such as salt, sugar and poisonous additives, which I have been counselled through plentiful advertising, must be avoided at all costs if I am to travel the road of a healthy lifestyle and withstand the creeping obesity threatening to come my way.
Now to run the gauntlet of students who have recognised the power shift with their ability to now place the ‘Checkout Closed sign as you push to trolley forth, or stare at you condemnation when you incorrectly enter you pin number and hear the sigh of impatience when they have to restart the machine for you to make your payment.
Now to make that epic journey across the carpark, hoping I am not again spotted by the rain gods, battling my wonky-wheel trolley, which is set on a right-hand turn when you want to go straight ahead.
I am at the car at last. Ignoring the warnings for women to have these keys always at the ready in case of attack, I dive into my handbag for the car keys that have sunk to the bottom of my bag, down under the tissues, minty wrappers, pens without lids and a couple of rubber bands.
I open the boot of my car ready to offload my groceries. Unbeknown to me, the gas in the little arms that hold up the boot lid is starting to leak and as I heft the groceries out of the trolley, the lid crashes down upon my head. Really? Haven’t I suffered enough!
Apparently not because as I try to exit the carpark, the evening rush hour is underway and no one seems willing to let me pull out into their lane. Cars are now lined up behind me, tooting with impatience so I cautiously edge out onto the highway and plunge into the tiny gap left by homebound motorists.
I’m out and on my way home. My trials continue. Now I have to repeat the process of offloading the shopping bags out of the trolley and inside my house.
I am one of the people who never makes two trips to the car when one will surely suffice, even if it does means carrying four loaded bags of groceries in one hand and your two precious wine bottles in the other.
Forgetting the escaping gas leak, I am again smacked on the head as I offload my treasure from the depths of the boot hole.
Attempting to unlock the front door while carrying the hand-cutting plastic bags (should have recycled my cloth bags) is an exercise in stupidity but I overcome.
At last, safe inside my house. I bundle all the parcels on the bench with a sigh of relief. The task of unpacking groceries and putting them away can wait until I have a cup of tea or better still, break open one of those wine bottles. Because I have been to the supermarket and I deserve it!
I hate going to the supermarket.
Are there tasks you dislike carrying out? What things get on your nerves? Share your stories with us.
To write for Starts at 60 and potentially win a $20 voucher, send your articles to our Community Editor here.