Today I ventured out to the supermarket for the first time since the lockdown and introduction of social distancing measures. Fionnuala suggested this would be ‘good experience’ and handed me a list of items to purchase. I’m anxious when tasked by my wife at the best of times so this was a particularly challenging event. Armed with said list and debit card I drove out of our village for the first time in over a month! How time flies.
Thankfully I could still drive a car and made it safely to the supermarket. Driving along the main street I observed how few shops were open. A greengrocers, a pet shop, hardware store, but the town was eerily quiet. I parked outside the supermarket and noticed a handful of fellow shoppers wearing masks and latex gloves. Nobody batted an eyelid at them. A month ago they would have been carted off to the nearest secure psychiatric facility.
I had to queue outside the store, two metres behind the lady in front of me, before a staff member indicated I could enter. Inside, gloves and hand sanitizers were available for customers and a one way system was in operation. Shoppers kept their distance and I complied as well, despite my dubious trolley steering skills. The shelves were well stocked and I was able to pick up everything on the list within ten minutes.
At the checkout the cashier sat behind a perspex screen and I paid by card, thus avoiding any physical contact or risk of cross contamination. I left the store and returned to the car park via a circuitous route which kept me away from people still queuing to enter. It was all very organised and calm; no scenes of feral women wrestling on the ground over the last roll of toilet roll. There is plenty for everyone; this weird new world has become our norm.