Grocery Shopping During a Global Pandemic


I drive into the car park and pull my Ford Bmax into a space. For a moment I look around noticing there's hardly anyone there. The sun is setting on another clear sky day. Birds fly overhead in flocks and I swear there wasn't normally this many birds in the sky before the pandemic began.

Checking the shopping list I stall for the time I have to get myself out of the car. I look at the Alexa app on my phone and add the items to my main shopping list.

Finally, after snapping on a pair of disposable gloves, I'm ready to get out of the car. I feel like I'm living in an apocalypse movie. I know it's not chaos out there, but as I look through my car window I swear I can see Coronavirus germs flying up and out of each person that walks by my vehicle.

"Let's do this." I motivate myself and open the door. The air is warmer than usual for this time of year in England. And it hasn't rained for weeks. In January we had so much rain there were floods! Then straight into a global pandemic. What next? Someone worried me about the super volcano in Yellowstone on facebook recently. Okay so it was another apocalypse meme joke, but seriously 2020 what the hell are you doing to us?

So I walk from my car to the front of the shop, but now there are lines painted on the pavement where you have to stand 2 metres apart from the person in front and behind you. As I cue up behind shoppers of 1 person each, my eyes start to water with fear. I simply can't comprehend that I'm standing here in the small town of Stourport experiencing something that up until now has only happened in fiction. In movies. This isn't how real life is supposed to be. I'm connected through travesty here and now to the entire world. I'm not the only person standing 6 feet away from someone else. Across the globe every human in the world is experiencing similar circumstances. 

I struggle through the grocery store. Everyone plays dodgems with their trolleys. Giving each other wide births and waiting patiently to be the next to have a look at that choice head of iceberg lettuce on the shelf.

My eyes tear up again. I'm feeling scared for everyone silently shopping, fearing each other as we pass by. Then my sorrow turns to outrage when I see a woman they probably shouldn't have let into the store.

She's walking quickly down an isle, but I've seen that she's bundled up in a heavy coat, boots, and a wooly hat. She's shivering. A sure sign of fever. Her nose is bright red. Her eyes are pink and watery. She looks like hell and she's breathing through her open mouth.

There's no doubt in my mind she's riddled with Coronavirus.

I hurry away and I'm counting myself lucky I wasn't headed down the same aisle as she did.

As I head out of the store I rush to my car, throw my groceries in, hop inside and slam the door shut. Someone next to my car is getting into theirs, so I even switch my air con to "inside air" ventilation only.

Driving away from the store is nice with little to no traffic on the roads. But it's a fearful peace, and all the way home I feel exposed, uneasy, and as though I'm living inside a pandemic film. This can't be real. How is this happening?

Don't say it, Suz. 

Don't.

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