Trip to the shops gave me sense of nor­mal­ity

Evening Times - - NEWS - Kr­is­han

THE re­turn back to some sort of nor­mal­ity is un­der­way! Af­ter 16 weeks at home, I ven­tured out to the shops for the first time last week­end.

In pre-Covid times, one of my most favourite things to do was win­dow shop­ping and who doesn’t love a mind­less wan­der around the ran­dom aisles at Home­bar­gains or Aldi, but now even the thought of do­ing this comes with mild anx­i­eties es­pe­cially for those of us who have been house­bound for such a long time.

I had worked my­self up over the course of the week for that mo­ment where I could go to the shops and buy some much needed clothes for my kids. Whilst the op­tion of on­line shop­ping has been great, it hasn’t been the same as phys­i­cally do­ing the shop.

It al­most seems com­i­cal but this trip, which once was done on au­topi­lot, now re­quired ex­ten­sive or­gan­is­ing.

“When was the best time to go? When would it be qui­etest?” I won­dered.

I de­cided that go­ing super early, be­fore the shops opened, would be the safest op­tion.

Next, I thought about what I would take with me. Never did I ever imag­ine this to be a thought process but here we are in 2020 where go­ing to a shop re­quires for­ward plan­ning.

I emp­tied out my over­sized hand­bag which hadn’t been used in months and re­viewed the hun­dreds of ran­dom things that had ac­cu­mu­lated in it.

One thing this pan­demic has taught me is about liv­ing more prac­ti­cally and mind­fully.

So I took out a bum­bag and put into it the fol­low­ing es­sen­tials for my big trip out; hand san­i­tizer, face cov­er­ing, plas­tic Zi­ploc bag to put my used face cov­er­ing in, keys, and debit card.

I no longer needed lip­stick – face cov­er­ings would sort out any bad face days and I wasn’t han­dling cash any­more so the wal­let was no longer needed. Sim­ple.

I parked up feel­ing all smug that I would likely be the first in and first out only to find that lots of other peo­ple had thought the same way!

There was a queue of 25 peo­ple be­fore me and the shop wasn’t even open yet.

Thank­fully, be­cause lock­down has made me a neu­rotic “stay­ing alert” kind of be­ing, I had con­sid­ered this po­ten­tial­ity and I was pre­pared to wait!

I had put on lay­ers with a wa­ter­proof jacket on, had an au­dio book play­ing and had even made my­self a cof­fee in a dis­pos­able cup.

Now, I re­flect from the dual per­spec­tives of some­one who has been in the vul­ner­a­ble cat­e­gory but also as a doc­tor who knows too much and who has been hear­ing hor­rific front­line sto­ries from friends and col­leagues, not to men­tion watch­ing the news ev­ery­day.

Be­ing super vig­i­lant about self-pro­tec­tion is there­fore very im­por­tant to me and I feel this should also be the case for ev­ery per­son out there, too.

How­ever, as I looked at the peo­ple queued along­side me, I found my­self ques­tion­ing whether I was the only one who had been liv­ing through a pan­demic be­cause the ma­jor­ity were not wear­ing any face cov­er­ings and so­cial dis­tanc­ing didn’t re­ally seem to be a thing!

Whilst in the shop, I had to keep mov­ing away from oth­ers who seemed to ig­nore the rules and to my hor­ror, even some cashiers weren’t com­ply­ing ei­ther.

The ethos be­hind face cov­er­ings, phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing and res­pi­ra­tory hy­giene is to help pre­vent the spread of Covid-19.

I es­pe­cially felt wor­ried for the el­derly who were walk­ing around the shop.

Many who can­not wear pro­tec­tive cov­er­ings need us to take care of them by en­sur­ing that we wear ours.

I will be hon­est and say that it did feel weird wear­ing a face cov­er­ing and hav­ing to watch my ev­ery step whilst out­side but it was lovely to fi­nally get out of the house and see real peo­ple again.

It will cer­tainly take time to get used to do­ing things so dif­fer­ently but I am grate­ful that mea­sures like wear­ing face cov­er­ings are now manda­tory in shops.

I do hope to start get­ting out more and maybe even start en­joy­ing my mind­less wan­ders around the shops again.

But, for now, we are to re­main alert and con­tinue to do our bit – even though it may seem com­i­cal at times.

Peo­ple need to wear face cov­er­ings to pro­tect them­selves and oth­ers

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