In my younger years of my early 30s it was perfectly possible to ‘pop’ to the shops to buy something I needed. Perhaps a loaf of bread. Maybe some fruit. More likely some chocolate and alcohol.
In fact, it was almost as if the word ‘pop’ was designed for the act of quickly visiting a local shop. And bursting balloons, of course.
These days the act of ‘popping’ to the shops has been replaced by the act of ‘meandering’ to the shops – a process that includes numerous unnecessary stops, abject terror whenever approaching a road and ultimate failure in purchasing the intended items. If I may recount a recent journey to our local shop it may help illustrate the point in question.
Picture the scene – September 2016 – moderate sunshine, sky scattered with white fluffy clouds, wife on way to work and zero baked beans within the confines of our house. I repeat – ZERO BAKED BEANS! Given my intended dinner for one options required the saucy beany goodness that only the Heinz company can provide I decided to ‘pop’ to the local shop. As our little one was looking sleepy it felt like a good opportunity to stick him in the pram, take the 5 minutes stroll, buy the beans and stroll back, by which time he would no doubt have nodded off ready for a seamless transfer into his bed and 2 hours of peace.
‘No Daddy, Joshy walk’ came the predictable response to the pram being wheeled through the hallway towards our little one. Shoes in hand, he plonked himself down on the stairs and waited for me to accept defeat and put his shoes on for him, so he could indeed walk to the shops.
So off we trotted, with me pushing an empty pram on the assumption that he would be so knackered after the walk there that I would inevitably have to push him home in it.
The walk there was predictably achieved in staccato fashion. Even before the end of our road we had stopped for a few minutes to see the ‘apples’ that had fallen from the bush that looked suspiciously like red berries. We had exhibited wonder and amazement to see some still attached to the bush. Further amazement that there were more on the floor a few metres along the road. And then unbridled awe that there were still more berries on the same bush another few metres down. The pinnacle of the apple / berry episode was the need to squash a few of them underfoot before we could continue our journey.
Still in our own road there was the road-crossing safety lesson, which generally involves him spotting a car around 17 miles down the road meaning we can’t cross until it has safely passed, by which time another few cars have appeared on the horizon. As snails, slugs, pensioners in mobility scooters and one-legged badgers speed past us we finally reach the end of our road, knowing that we have made it safely through the first twentieth of our journey to the centre of the Earth / local shop.
The remainder of the epic journey included such delights as:
1. Stopping to look up at planes
2. Stopping to touch the pavement for no apparent reason
3. Jumping up and down at the edge of every gravel driveway
4. Stopping to admire every hole in every piece of brickwork
5. Holding on to the green railings of our local school and walking sideways along the entire length of them
6. Stopping and jumping on every drain and manhole cover
7. Sitting down at every bus stop
8. Walking on my shadow behind me so I couldn’t see him
9. Stopping. Then running. Then stopping. Then running. Then Stopping. All for no apparent reason.
10. A good few minutes staring at the digger which was mending the road (no sign of Mr Bull though)
I’ve stopped at ten for brevity but could happily have added another 30 or so to that list! So now we arrive at the local shop and in he trots, grabbing a basket on the way. In goes a Kinder Egg.
‘We don’t need any eggs Josh’.
Out goes the Kinder Egg.
‘Shall we get some nanas?’ (at the time he could either say ‘nanas’ or ‘banananas’ but not ‘bananas’),
In go the bananas, thrown in with the force of a bullet being fired from a gun (with me having checked there were no man-eating spider eggs lurking on them). The following things temporarily entered the basket at various stages of the shop:
1. Jar of pesto
2. Kitchen rolls
4. Dog food
5. Bread rolls
All of which quickly left the basket again after a short discussion.
I felt sorry for the banananananas by the end of the shop because within the space of 20 minutes they’d had so many items thrown on top of them that they must have been as bruised as me after a game of 5-a-side football. At least the man-eating spider babies were probably squashed in the process.
The ending may be as predictable as one of those films my other half watches on the 24/7 Movies channel but having finally struggled back home and tucked him up in bed for his nap I made the harrowing discovery that I hadn’t actually bought any beans.
Fortunately due to that mysterious connection between mother and son my mum decided at that very moment to invite us both round for dinner. So it was goodbye to ready meal with beans and hello to gammon joint with veg!! All’s well that ends well…
I first wrote this post for Parent.co so if you recognise it from somewhere it’s probably there!