#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 100

#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 100

Day 100

‘This is a reminder that social distancing measures are still in place in this shop. Please stand two metres away from each other, this includes standing two metres away from members of staff’

The shop comes to a stand still for a brief second before the microphone emits an audible click as the person on the other side of it hangs up.

‘Thank you,’ I mutter towards the speakers.

The supermarket is filled with shoppers as usual but very few are wearing a mask today. Trolleys are being pushed left and right, the flow of the journey broken up by unexpected encounters at either end of the aisles.

The markings on the floor are faded, the colours dulled by thousands of wheels and shoes treading on them. People don’t see them any longer, they are part of our new visual language and it is easy not to see them anymore. But they are there, the pleas to keep two metres apart, the safety tape marking the distance.

The trolleys start their journey again, slowly, cautiously. Everyone is aware of the other shoppers eyes on them, spying to see who triggered a member of staff to make this announcement. We wait and smile, courtesy and silence now omnipresent in our gestures.

I continue to move the trolley, feeling safer for having heard an employee care about the guidelines, about safety.

The trolley overflowing with food for the next couple of weeks, I make my way to check-out, my feet finding the one till I have been using consistently throughout lockdown. It hasn’t been the usual person behind the screen for the last few shops. It still isn’t today. Instead of the dark-haired silent employee, there is a bubbly blonde haired one. We chat throughout the process as I try to keep some sort of organisation on the belt to make packing easier.

‘Oh that’s a lot,’ the person says before telling me how much I owe the shop. ‘But if that’s for a couple of weeks…’

‘I know,’ I tell her. ‘I had a moment during the first lockdown shop, but when you break down the price, it’s actually okay.’

We smile and carry on chatting as I put the last bag into the trolley.

I leave the shop, the trolley heavy, and wheels unruly.

Where are you? I text my partner who is waiting in the car.

To your right as you come out, she replied quickly.

I look up and scan the car park in search of our small red car. I spot it quickly and hurry to it. I transfer the bags into the boot and hop in the car. My partner squirts some hand gel in my hands. I rub it in, spreading it in every nook and cranny of my hand, fingers and wrists. Once dried, I close the door and we set off towards the house.

I am not walking today. We are trying to change our routine, make it faster and more manageable for when we both return to work. I take it one step at a time. This feels okay. Next we drop the bags in the garden. We said we wouldn’t clean the packaging but I cannot bring myself not to do it. I get the spray, gloves, and cloths out. My partner begins to clean as I head for the shower. When I come back to the garden, half the bags are already empty. I set out to store everything in the fridge and cupboards and within an hour we are done.

My partner head for the shower and I pour myself a fresh glass of apple juice. This shop has been a lot faster the any of the previous ones we have done during lockdown but it still takes a lot of time, time we won’t have when we return to work. One step at a time, I remind myself. For now, this is okay.

I move from the sofa to the step leading into the garden and watch the long blade of grass sway in the breeze, my mind focused on their movement rather than the possibility of not cleaning anything before putting it away.

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