I haven’t been out much lately. I am starting to feel as though I am a virtual resident in a virtual reality. The world I grew up in and have reached the point of achieving the age of “vulnerability” in is one I seem to have left even though I am still breathing – unassisted!
Today, I took my virtual self out into the real world for about an hour. This is not the first time but it is the first time I have longed to get back to the confines of my little house in the burbs and reconnect with my computer, my iPad, my iPhone before I have my real afternoon sleep made necessary because of my age of vulnerability!
I went to one shop to pick up a couple of things in preparation for a visit with a couple of the grandchildren and their mother. I knew what I wanted to get. The shop has its own carpark. At least it used to own it I think. A fitness gym has taken over the front section of the building and the carpark is now “theirs”. Unfortunately I arrived at what must have been change over of session and these svelte, ripped, toned bodies were exiting the carpark in their enormous four wheel drive vehicles, ignoring markings put in to assist the swift entry of new arrivals. A bit miffed I was.
Out of the car. Unpacked Blue Beryle (my three wheel walking aid), checked I had locked the car and started the short trip to the ramp into the building. Since I became vulnerable I walk looking down. My greatest fear is the fear of falling over. Following bilateral knee replacement three years ago my physio told me that if I fall in public, I should not make an attempt to get up myself. I should get someone to put me in recovery position and wait for the paramedics! Even more pressure now that we are living in the Covid19 world.
Suddenly I became aware of a snorting, throbbing insistent grumble and looked straight into the eyes of a bull bar big enough to take on the running bulls of Pamplona and take them all out! I apologised for my existence and moved aside so that the driver could reverse in order to negotiate the very tight turn to get out of the carpark. Entitlement!
Getting into the shop I made my way to where I thought the goods would be. I was assisted by a shop assistant who was in deep discussion with her co-worker while they were each restocking the shelves. I apologised for interrupting them. One was lovely and smiled, the other reminded me of many a year 9 student from my past whose response to me was “are you kidding?” Entitlement!
I found my goods and started to negotiate my way to the checkout. Eyes down following the arrows. I had to veer to the right to avoid a woman around my vintage I think, who said “Lovely, isn’t it?” . My knees were aching. I was conscious of being in the store too long. Trying to be the good fairy of positivity and hope I said “Oh, it will get better!” (Entitlement!) “No it won’t. Its only going to get worse.” She then went on to vent her frustration – to which she is entitled – about the general lack of politeness among “shop girls”. She had worked on shops and she had never walked away from customers. Frustration. I am not criticising her but too much detail for a conversation in a shop in the middle of a pandemic! Entitlement!
I was tempted to ask her what she was looking for but I resisted. After assuring me we should all start to stand up and object to what is going on, she skiddaled! By the time I got to the end of the aisle, there she was bailing up an assistant “Are you on the floor?” “Yes, I’m working here. How can I help you?” I thought of my grand daughter a uni student lucky enough to have a job in retail. She doesn’t have a contract but she has been getting a reasonable number of shifts. She speaks about the rudeness of some people and the support of others. She’s young. She’s polite. She’s respectful. She’s responsible. When I think of her I think there really IS hope. She’s entitled to respect.
Its a very odd time there is no doubt. Perhaps attending to customers should take priority over stocking the shelves but its all a bit confusing when social distancing is the order of the day and you watch the football!
So. I finally arrived at the checkout.The footprints did not go as far as the line up. I stood an appropriate distance away from the woman in front of me. Within a very short time there was a sigh of exaperation almost straight into my right ear “Is this the line up? Oh I’ll have to get a trolley. I can’t hold all these things for that length of time”. Pushing past me with her child in tow she grabbed the trolley, set off the alarm and came back to her spot!
I was wishing I had not traded in my first walking aid “Invictus” for “Blue Beryle”. Invictus was big enough for me to park my ample behind on but did not fit into the boot of my car. Blue Beryle has a cleve little basket which is handy and can be covered with a top that makes it possible to carry a cuppa into the lounge room! My right knee gives me agony when I stand for any length of time in one spot.
By the time I was at the last set of foot prints before the registers, there were four people standing between me and the next set of footprints!
I believe that as a people we have become so distanced from the reality of the lives of the majority of the world’s peoples. The loss of life here is tragic for those who have lost loved ones. I nearly vomited this morning when I saw a reporter on breakfast television interview an eighty one year old man in lockdown in his aged care residence. She asked how he felt when he found out his best friend, a resident of the same facility, had succumbed to the virus. This dignified man battled to gain control over his trembling lip. His eyes welled up. He finally found words to tell of his sadness – not many words, but enough. All the while, his son was outside the facility, lucky enough to be able to see his father through a window but not lucky enough to hold his Dad’s hand, put his arm around him. Crossing back to the studio the breakfast show host reminded us all of how terrible that must be for people! Really? Are we really entitled to witness this rate winning ( perhaps) footage?
We have become a society of voyeurs entitled to know everything, do everything, have the best of everything.
I wonder what the poor people are doing?