The automatic doors parted. In pace, I stepped through and grabbed the handles of a red plastic basket. I ambled around aisles of cleaning supplies, frozen pizzas and bottled water, without a list of what I actually needed- a dangerous way to shop.
People pushed partially-filled shopping carts, occasionally pausing to consider a product or check their lists. Some texted or talked on their phones while they wandered. Others sported headphones and occasionally hummed along to a tune only they heard. Otherwise, hits from the 90s issued from unseen ceiling speakers.
I turned at the end of an aisle and nearly knocked into a woman who was walking the other way. She angled her cart around me and apologized without lifting her eyes to meet mine. Her words were perfunctory and monotone. They had a timbre of trained politeness.
I wasn’t aware of what I needed next and therefore was momentarily directionless- something that’s entirely innocent when one isn’t inhibiting another’s way. My pause caused her to actually look at me. Her expression questioned my next move. I smiled. “Sorry. I don’t know where I’m going.” She simpered and was on her way. Nothing more. No romance, or rapport.
As I made my way around the market I realized that not many of the multitude of my fellow consumers minded one another at all. Most focused on lists, mobile devices and merchandise. They went about their lives neither regarding nor regarded.
★ ★ ★
Still writing my way through Lent. No discernible theme has made an appearance yet, but I do feel like this practice has been good. Once Easter is gone, I have plenty of writing projects that will occupy my time both no vML and some other fun places.