Daft Old Duffer returns. Guest opinion articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publication. Ed
I had myself a bit of an adventure last week. I needed some replacement undies so instead of shopping at my local Coop shop, which doesn’t do clothing, I caught the bus to the Tesco store.
My God, what a scary place that is! Full of grimly determined females, each armed with a shopping trolley tank, hurtling, manoeuvring, charging along the main concourse, darting in and out of blind-corner side alleys, braking to instantaneous halts, then accelerating off in improbable new directions. All without signalling, or as far as I could judge, even looking.
Supermarket traffic lights
I have always stood up for women’s driving, declaring stoutly that in my experience they are fully as good, perhaps even better, than the men who sneer at them.
But not when in charge of a shopping trolley. If ever there was a crying need for traffic lights and stout hearted policemen it is in a large, no-speed-limit supermarket.
My mistake was that in addition to my panties, which I gathered in almost immediately, I decided to pick up a few food items. And so ventured into the maelstrom armed, in my innocence with nothing more than a basket.
Rendering myself to all intents and purposes invisible.
Needed eyes in the back of my head
Finding the items I needed, difficult enough in a store stocked with Tesco logic – which is of course entirely different to Coop logic – was made infinitely worse by the need to spend most of my time keeping a nervous eye out for the swarm of glassy-eyed females and their unpredictable moves.
The only other time I have been so unnerved was on my first encounter with French traffic wherein, as every traveller knows, vehicles emerge from always unexpected quarters and drivers find horns more useful than brakes.
Car park terror
It was with a feeling not only of relief but also of triumph that I at last passed through the checkout, all items bought and paid for.
Only to emerge into the terror of the car park.
I had entered the store safely enough by keeping rigidly to the pedestrian crossing that led from bus stop to entrance. But on leaving I used another exit. Which didn’t worry me because I assumed there would be some sort of walkway leading to the pedestrian crossing.
Not so. Instead I found myself stranded in an arena in which seasoned drivers displayed their know-how, their expertise, by hurtling along the main causeways and swinging, without slowing, into one of the many side roads, braking and reversing into their chosen parking bays, narrowly avoiding collision with those dashing out and whooshing away.
All with with huge ‘look at me, I’m an expert at this’ verve.
And there was me, alone and lonely, ambushed by white lines that plainly meant something different to me than to those corralling me, striving to look in all directions at once, as I tried to judge from which direction the next shiny box would attack.
I made it at last to the sanctuary of the bus stop shelter, vowing never again.
But I probably will, in time. After all, I know how to get in out now,and I have at least a rough idea where things are kept.
And I’ll go armed next time with my own trolley tank, ready and prepared to give battle.