Last week I submitted my first assignment for my Creative Writing course. I got a good score and some great feedback which has given me some wonderful encouragement, especially after a rather difficult week. We had to do a prompted free-write (basically a steam of consciousness), a passage of prose based on something from the free-write and then a commentary. Now that it has been marked I can share the passage with you.
It’s always the same. I park as close to the shop as possible, go and find a trolley, realise I have only bought my credit cards with me and that I don’t have the required pound coin, go back to the car, hunt around in the ashtray for change, scrabble about on the floor, accidentally beep the horn as I hoike my chubby frame out of the passenger foot well, swear, bang my head getting out of the car, swear again, look around at the other customers going in in case I see a friend I can ask, give up and go and get a basket knowing full well that by the time I get to the deli counter I will have to push it along with my foot because it is too heavy.
I sigh. It’s not as if it’s the first time I have been shopping. I’ve been an adult for a long time now and I pretty much go to the supermarket every week. We tried the on-line shopping thing of course but we got rather bored of the bizarre substitutions. No orange juice? No problem, we can just send you 16 tangerines instead. I sigh again.
I feel around in my pocket for the tiny page I ripped from one of the children’s notebooks. Nothing. I try the other pocket. Then the back two pockets. I open up my phone; maybe it is tucked into the credit card flap? But no. I sigh again. I’m starting to sound like an old woman with all this sighing. How long will it be before I start wearing cardigans that smell of wee? I sigh loudly this time, just because.
I half think about what it was I came in for but my brain has already been hijacked by the Special Offer stand just inside the cavernous doors. Today we have plastic cartons of chocolate rice crispy cakes and I can feel another sigh brewing before you can say ‘why not just paint the lard on my thighs’. I struggle past them, abstinence intact, telling myself that keeping chocolate covered items just inside the door where those over dramatic heaters blow everyone’s hair about, is probably a breeding ground for germs anyway. I have a little ‘chat’ to myself. Or rather the id and the ego on opposite shoulders start their bickering about why ‘she should be able to eat what she wants’ or why ‘she shouldn’t even be thinking about it’, as if I’m not even there at all.
My id shouts ‘CONFECTIONERY AISLE’ in a tempting sing song voice but my ego sternly reminds me ‘YOU CAME IN FOR SALAD, STICK TO THE PLAN’. ‘But she WANTS chocolate!’ then ‘But she WANTS to be a size 10 and NOT have an apron of baby fat hanging over her knickers!’ I sigh, take a deep breath and head listlessly for the prepared salads. I am suddenly struck by the true meaning of the word listless. I am without list, I am devoid of list, I am list-less. I spy tomatoes. We always need tomatoes. The children eat them like sweets. I stare at the lettuce, do we need lettuce? Every person on a healthy eating plan (can’t call it a diet, too negative) eats lettuce don’t they? I make a grab for a something that looks at least partly exciting.
‘NO!’ ego takes me by surprise.
‘Oh but yes!’ id grins solicitously ‘it has croutons and parmesan and creamy sauce, oh my!’
Darn it. I put it back. I double check the next bag I pick up. Nothing but leaves in this one, pretty colours I admit, but just leaves.
I pick up some random fruit from the next aisle: Apples and pears because they are cheap, blueberries for my muesli, strawberries because they are as much of a treat as I am allowed. Round the end of the aisle I head towards the brassicas where it smells of farts. I do love cauliflower cheese but of course cheese, flour, and butter are all evil so it’s just cauliflower for me, no cheese. Especially no cheese. Cheese is especially evil.
It is, of course, most dangerous when it has been grated. More so when it has been grated for someone else’s consumption. I struggle not to think about grated cheese and try to find a cauliflower that actually has a decent amount of the edible part, not just a nugget of white surrounded by a trillion leaves disguising itself as a considerably sized vegetable.
And then I start to feel it. The heavy basket cutting into my hands. Three. Aisles. In. I scooch it to the checkout with my foot and tuck a small bar of chocolate in a gap at the side. Id snorts and raises his eyes in delight. Ego pulls his hat down over his eyes and pretends to be asleep.
Bye for now