I’ve just come back from Sainsbury’s. Oh yes, fasten your seat belts folks, it’s going to be one hell of a Dollop; I’ve really hooked you in with that opening sentence, haven’t I.
“Damn! I’ve got a mountain of things to do before bed, and I really don’t have time to read this, but the opening sentence caught my eye and now I’m suckered in. Although, I am rather freaked out that I’m now reading my exact thought process word for word, meaning that David has somehow predicted what I was going to think before I thought it, including this bit. How can this be? Now, I’ve got some spaghetti bolognaise from a couple of nights ago in the fridge, so I might have that for tea. That’ll be quick and means I can get on with the things I … hang on, my mind drifted off for a few seconds there and yet, David has somehow predicted that I would do that and think about Spaghetti Bolognaise. How is this possible? I’m sure that everyone else reading this just assumes that this is a bit of a joke that has gone on rather too long, but they’re not the ones caught in the middle of it, having their thoughts read before they’ve even happened. When will this end? How long will this weird thought reading routine go on for? Does this prove that everything I think and do is predestined, and that David is God? I must break the spell. Maybe if I switch off the computer, somehow I’ll be free from this weirdness, and my thoughts will be mine once again. OK, I must force myself to stop reading this, despite its strange hypnotising power, as I see my own thoughts being presented as text on a blog. But I must be strong if I am to break this spell. I must shut down the computer. OK: start menu, shut down. OK, windows is shutting dow…”
Anyway, sorry, as I was saying, before I was rudely interrupted by my own weirdness. I’ve just come back from Sainsbury’s. Being blind I ask someone working at the shop to help me get the various things. Today’s lady had seemingly never seen a vegetable before, nor most of the food I was buying. She’d never heard of spring onions before, had no idea what a courgette was. Cherry tomatoes seemed to be a concept that completely bewildered her. “I’ve heard of cherries, and I know about tomatoes, but I didn’t know that you could buy them as one. I wouldn’t imagine that it would taste very nice.”
She also had an unusual way of conversing. Even if she didn’t really have anything to bring to the table about whatever subject had come up, she’d nevertheless valiantly and enthusiastically try to join in. She asked me if I was going anywhere nice this year. I told her that I was going to Australia soon and Canada later in the year. At which point she enthusiastically declared, “really?! Wow! Well I actually used to know someone who went to Canada once, and said it was very nice.” There was a bit of a pause, before she added, “so, yes.” Granted, her “so yes,” wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as her opening line about the person she once knew going to Canada once, as if she’d realised that actually her fact wasn’t really that interesting or unusual to warrant the amount of excitement she’d supplied it with.
However, in fairness, you could argue that I’m now spending my time writing about what the woman said, in a bid to try and impart a reasonably entertaining anecdote for a blog, which is arguably worse. At least this woman probably knew that her comment and our conversation was just throw-away and unimportant, whereas I am analysing it and writing about it in a blog. So who’s really the weird one here? The answer is her, definitely her.
My favourite line of hers was when we were looking for peas. “Well, you know what they say about peas,” she said. I didn’t know what they said about peas, nor did I know who “they” were who doing the saying. But when I pressed her for more information , she just giggled and said, “no no, it’s OK, never mind.” I continued to press her on the issue. She’d peaked my curiosity. But she just giggled and said that she didn’t want to say.
But I couldn’t let it go. I told her that she couldn’t just come out with an incongruous line about peas and then refuse to supply further information. Why did she mention the peas thing in the first place if she wasn’t prepared to talk about it? Was this some secret code? Maybe she was part of a secret society who demonstrate they’re a part of the secret society with the line, “well you know what they say about peas.” At which point, if the other person responds with the second half of the sentence then they prove that they are also in the secret society. Maybe “are you going anywhere nice this year?” was also meant as a demonstration of secret society identity. Perhaps I’d inadvertently answered correctly by telling her that I’m going to Australia and Canada, and she had given the appropriate response in return, which would explain why what she’d said didn’t really make much conversational sense, and seemed odd to someone who wasn’t part of the secret society. Then I asked for food that she’d never heard of before, and maybe this started her to doubt that I actually was one of her own, and so added the comment about the peas as a test.
I put all of this to the shop assistant, but to be honest, I think I’d lost her at about the time that I said “incongruous.” If she’d never heard of cherry tomatoes or spring onions then a none-colloquial four syllable word probably wasn’t in her lexicon either.
I began to realise that I was now probably at the point that I should just let the whole peas thing go. She clearly didn’t want to tell me, and I think she might have been a bit intimidated by my insistence that she told me. I was also getting a bit irritated, because I really wanted to know what the bloody hell she was going on about. I think I was letting my irritation visibly manifest itself in the form of me twirling my cane around in front of me, which might have looked a bit threatening.
She just kept nervously giggling and refusing to tell me. “I don’t want to say, it’s rude,” she said. At this point I thought that I might have cottoned onto what she was referring to.
“Are you suggesting that peas make you fart? Is that what you’re driving at?”
I think I was sounding a bit like an austere father, berating her immaturity. The actual reason for my annoyance and incredulity was because I was disappointed if this was all that the last two minutes of interrogation had been leading to.
“Yes,” she giggled. “Peas peas, good for your heart, the more you eat them, the more you
…” and then she giggled some more, in place of the word “fart.”
“I’ve heard that little poem being said about beans,but not peas,” I replied.
There was a pause, her giggling stopped, and then she said, “oh yes, it’s beans isn’t it? Not peas.”
After all that. Although, in fairness, peas do have similar fart-inducing properties as well, so her variant on the traditional poem does technically work.
Later on, she asked me what I was making for tea “with all these exotic vegetables.” I told her that I’m roasting them with chicken, fresh herbs and spices. She sounded impressed. I asked her what she was eating tonight, and she said that she normally ate fish fingers or sausages, “so probably that.”
“Well you know what they say about fish fingers and sausages?” I said, and began to nervously giggle.
“no, what? What do they say?”
“No no, I can’t say.” I increased my nervous giggling.
“No, come on, I want to know.”
“OK, OK. Fish fingers and sausages, you really are a chancer, as eating them significantly increases your risk of cancer. Fish fingers and sausages are bad for your heart, but at least on the plus side they don’t make you fart, although, actually, they probably do.”
I didn’t say that last bit, obviously. I am a nice person, or at least in person I am nice; I am rather judgemental when I’m writing about people for a blog.
In March I will regale you with tales from my exploits in Australia, but for now, it’s stories about shopping in Sainsburys.