Every Friday I do our weekly grocery shopping at Safeway to the clattering sound of the trains whistling over the Newmarket bridge, tinny 1980s classics piped in glorious transister mono and the endless peep-peep of scanners. Invariably I'm always starving after having just been for a run and a shower before heading over there. It's my key task to complete for the day before getting back home for breakfast in front of the computer.
It's a sad-but-true fact that I really enjoy visiting the supermarket. Having lived here for seven months now, I'm familiar with the layout and am on 'Hello, how ya goin' this week?' terms with several of the staff. Friendliness aside, it's the unfettered freedom that gives me my simple dose of free jollies - being able to roll up and down each aisle without whingeing passengers, time constraints or feeling angry because there were no available Saturday morning parking spaces or a gold coin in my purse to unlock a trolley.
I'll read the back of labels, peruse the specials on display at the end of each aisle and ~gulp~ linger in the confectionery section, tantalising myself on what I would buy if Craptastic Mr Cholesterol hadn't reared his butt ugly head.
Today there was a bit of commotion in the bakery section - or was it the deli? Several children were screaming and one old lady putt-putted past me on her geriatric scooter, muttering, "I thought me heart had given out, that I did," as she escaped the area at 9 kms per hour.
I lifted my gaze up from the potatoes (oooh, red desirees or kipflers this week?) to get a view. Golden Crumpets were having an in-store promotion. Now this crumpet company has been around for all of my living memory and the logo (seen above) certainly attests to this. It struck me however, that I'd never really paid attention to the logo before, but just mindlessly grabbed a small packet of six, slung it in the trolley near the soft stuff like bananas and avocados and gone on my merry (and clearly ignorant) way.
Mr Golden Crumpet in the flesh, on the other hand, was huge. Pushing seven foot tall and handing out some little blow up mascots to anyone brave enough to get close. Trouble is, where the logo guy has tiny stumpy legs, the real deal was wearing white, shiny spandex that revealed enormous, muscular legs that echoed a youthful Arnie in his 'pumping iron' phase. He looked as though he could deliver a deathly roundhouse kick to the ghoolies than get a granny to stop and smile.
He wasn't licking his lips like this little chap either, but had his mouth open in a large, dark-meshed 'Oh' that clearly suggested 'Shove your toddler in here, Mum, before I get really angry.' Soon there was a crowd of terrified bakery section sufferers sheltering behind my bag of desirees. "Don't move, lady - he'll see us!"
Naturally, as a blogger and generally silly person, I started to laugh. Bad move. Mr Golden Crumpet saw me, gave me a wave with his massive white-gloved mitts and the lino started to pucker as he thundered over - Whappity Whappity WHAP - in his red, canoe-sized shoes. My cowering crowd seemingly vanished and I leaned in to speak to him. I presumed he'd hear more accurately if I spoke to his mesh cake hole and not in the direction of his ears because he didn't have any; just yellow fabric.
"Erm, you don't have any free samples, do you?"
Alas, like Humphrey B Bear, he was mute. And, for some weird reason, not accompanied by a human being with a tray of hot buttered crumpets. He pointed to a blow up mascot.
"No thanks Mr Crumpet, but thanks for offering and, um, best of luck for your remaining university studies and in being able to reach out to the kiddies today."
He was soon forgotten in my quest to find substitutes for chocolate*** and tick everything off my list. Bog rolls, check. Yoghurts, check. Dog Crunchies, check....
On my way out of the store, I saw the terrified geriatric scooter driver with no less than five of her mates - also on scooters - having some morning tea at the cafe next door. There were more oxygen tanks on display than in an intensive care unit yet they all managed to slurp down their especially frothy and powdered cappuccinos (unless they were actually short blacks that had been blasted with too much air from their nasal tubes) and chatter away.
What amused me more, though, was that all six of them had a blow up Mr Golden Crumpet mascot in their scooter baskets. Not for the first time, I cursed forgetting to bring along the camera. This was done silently though because I didn't want to risk receiving any tut-tuts or disapproving looks from the oldies.
Finally, as the car was loaded and I wheeled the trolley towards the bay to lock it in with the others and get my two dollars back (yes, the pennies need to be watched carefully), I felt the chain grabbing at my fingers and one finger feeling especially cool. No matter. I climbed in the car and inserted the key: Oh. My shower-wet, three-day-old, slightly rancid-smelling bandaid must have slipped off and was now stuck on the coin slot. Ergh, not a nice 'welcome to the world' experience for the next innocent shopper but hey, I had places to go, things to do, things to write....
.... yes, I sighed, took out the key and trudged back to the trolley bay and removed the offence - still in a perfect cylinder - and put it in the bin. Paragon of virtue, me.
*** There are none. But 3 x 250 gram bags of pink-n-white marshmallows, a packet of Jersey Caramels, three boxes of Weight Watchers 'Ginger Kiss' cake bars, 2 x 100g logs of pistacchio nougat, several scoops of sugared mint leaves and some Dick Smith 'Aussie choc' drinking powder might see me through for the week. Or weekend.