So, Mrs Flashbang has deserted us and is currently somewhere between Cumbria and Northumbria cycling a coast to coast route. That's my girl. Now, that leaves us with something of a change of regime domestically but nothing dramatic, we've been here before and discipline and routine are the order of the day. Stuff gets done. That is, right up until we arrive at this place for food and drink replenishment.
For most men, the supermarket trip is an elite participant sport for which they have had little or no training since young childhood, when they were dragged around by their short tempered mothers who never understood the importance of a quick sugar rush at 9am in the morning. Actually, watching badly behaved children is pretty good entertainment up and down the aisles. Take care though not to become obsessively distracted less you be mown down by a pensioner on a high speed mission on his mobility scooter to get to aisle 14 where the girl with the discount sticker gun is busy reducing the price of the tea cakes with raisins. In fact, the supermarket is alive with threats to the unwary. They include, but are not limited to, the wandering Wildebeest I described in Fat Delusional Birds and the unplanned 'just bumped into,' meeting with people you'd rather not stand and talk about nothing to for 20 minutes.
Then we have the wretched bloody store managers who think it's clever to play grocery hide-and-seek by moving entire rows of condiments and ingredients every six weeks to the nether reaches of the store, the check out assistant who takes the instruction to 'greet the customer,' as a personal lifestyle choice and questions you on 'your day,' as would the Gestapo and of course the moment when you realise that you didn't bring 8 'bags for life,' like the Missus told you to and you're now going to shell out for 8 flimsy plastic bags while attracting looks of contempt and disdain from the queues left and right of you who stare at you as if you're either a complete fool or are personally responsible for the deaths of baby seals and dolphins across the world.
Let's face it, rather like childbirth, men are simply not designed for supermarkets. Too much nonsense, distractions, frippery and all out marketing psychological warfare which attempts to get us to do things we don't want to do. That simply reminds most men of their marriages. Most blokes could get by with no more than 30 basic ingredients, and that includes all the home hygiene kit, go home and knock up a pretty spectacular dinner. All of which could all fit in a much smaller retailing space than the modern iteration many of which are built on the scale of American nuclear powered aircraft carriers. We could call it a corner shop. Women though are made for supermarkets. Their normal mode of operations when shopping, say for clothes, becomes inverted when they walk through the doors of a supermarket. They hit the fruit and veg aisle with the sense of purpose of a Russian tank commander storming Berlin and go through the place like a freight train. Woe betide anyone who gets in their way, especially dazed men feeling their way around what for them, is alien space. That I fear, would mostly be me