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Of masks and varifocals

Breaking the habit of recent months, I popped into a shop today on my way back from a walk – rather than making myself wait until my next scheduled visit to Sainsburys.

Fortunately I had my mask and my credit card in my pocket. Aside from my house keys, this is all I normally carry these days and I try to remember always to have them in case my plans change on the spur of the moment. 

So, I donned the mask and ventured into a Co-op store I have never visited before. Then spent what seemed like forever wandering aimlessly, trying to find the few items I thought I needed.  Are you supposed to follow the direction of the footprints on the floor these days?  If so, I transgressed and hope this will not catch up with me from the CCTV.

My problem lay in the combination of mask and varifocal glasses. Whereas in Sainsburys I roughly know where everything is – our lives are so predictable these days that I buy pretty much the same stuff each week – which means I can easily find what I need, today, not only was I unfamiliar with the layout of the store, but I couldn’t easily recognise any of the products without reading the names. Which I was struggling to do. I have got used to squinting awkwardly in Sainsburys to determine the Use By and Best Before dates. Here I could barely see whether this was a meat product or a fruit!

Ah well, on proper inspection at home, I seem to have mostly the right things.

I noticed that my right eye had a bit of a cry on the homeward walk too. Possibly because of the strain in the Co-op, but more likely the high winds which have continued to buffet us today, after yesterday’s impressive gales. Or perhaps it’s the onset of Autumn. Noooooo.


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