Monday, 12 March 2012

Week 27- becoming a local at the health food shop and creeping out strangers

Being baby tired is brand new heights of knackered. Its not like 'I've been out till 2 drinking then had to get up for work' tired or 'I drove from Leeds to Cornwall and only stopped once' tired. It's more of a slow burner, low impact to start with, then creeps up on you and makes you feel like you're going mental when you least expect it.

And if someone shows you the smallest kindness when you're in the throws of feeling a bit wobbly, they quickly become prompted to saint status.

It was after a particularly sleepless night that I decided I loved the woman at the health food shop at the bottom of the road a little bit.

I went in for a smell more than anything else. And to listen to her as she chats about childcare for her great granddaughter. I ended up picking up some Fairtrade bananas, some brown pasta and some carob. None of these things we needed, in fact we've now got more bananas than her at home, and carob tastes like guinea pig treats. But when I got to the counter I realised I had no money, and she said she couldn't accept cards as it was less than a fiver.

I didn't want to get anything else, cos I didn't really want what I'd got in the first place. So she just said come back and pay for it tomorrow. Asked me to write my name on the top of the receipt as a prompt for her, and that was it. I'm finally a local at a health food shop! She trusts me enough to walk out with pretend chocolate I haven't paid for. And she knows me well enough to know I'll be back tomorrow.

This is a new level of being a local. I used to hate the fact that everyone knew everything you were doing in our village when I was growing up. That you couldn't get away with anything. The neighbours would phone your mum when she was away for the weekend to let her know you'd got boys round. The woman in the post office would dob you in for spending your dinner money on sweets there. And you just knew the man in the paper shop would tell your dad you were buying fags, if he could ever remember which one your dad was.

But this was brilliant. Like being part of a community. Having a local shop. An organic, seasonal vegtabled, smells like you're healthy the moment you walk through the door, weird honey for 17 quid, more seeds that you can shake a stick at, local shop.

I don't know whether she'll do it again, mind, because when giving back her pen after writing my name I held her hand for a little bit too long and said thank you almost in a whisper, not intentionally, but it probably sounded a bit too emotionally charged. Possibly even a bit creepy.

And I think I might have also looked like I might cry. Which didn't help the situation much as far as playing it cool goes.

Anyway I mulled the situation over on the walk to Boots on London Road. Is it too soon to drop the £3.36 off when we pass the shop on the way home? Should I give it a day to show that I am actually much more chilled out than the hand holding fiasco led her to believe? Would it be best to go in there just with the right amount, or buy more stuff and complicate the matter further?

I was still half thinking about it on the return walk home while flicking through the pictures I'd picked up of Nancy, when I smacked straight into her with the pram as she was changing the notices outside her shop.

In a fluster I pressed £4.50 into her hand, told her to keep the change like I was some kind of city banker in a swish cocktail bar, and then bolted home.

Thinking about it, she probably will give me a tab. What with those kind of profits.

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