Short notes on shopping and nostalgia.

At the weekend, on Saturday or Sunday afternoons , I drive down to the supermarket to do the weekly shop. More often than not I am alone. What a treat! To leave the house unaccompanied, even if it is only to Tesco. I hate doing the shop. The tedious mundanity of it. The buying of the same staples , week after week. The effort of thinking what could be bought for packed lunches that might be deemed acceptable ( where most things are not) Eking the budget out to last the month. Luxuries flung in the trolley with wild abandon in the first week, only glanced at ruefully at the end of the month. The utter , utter, pointlessness of stacking all the things in the conveyor belt, only to return them to the trolley from whence they came.

On the way home, boot full of bags, I listen to a radio station which plays songs from the eighties and nineties. Ballads. Cheese. Guilty pleasures. And so the short journey home becomes immersed in nostalgia. The most prosaic of adult tasks, engulfed by waves of the rawest emotions. One week I am weeping at Time of My Life, the next I am belting out Westlife remembering the time I sung it at karaoke (the only time I’ve done karaoke). Tracey Chapman takes me back to driving holidays in the south of France as a child, motoring down tree-lined avenues. Β I remember , momentarily, all the times that have been , that will never be again, Β and I am overwhelmed with longing. I grieve for the times I do not remember, that were also mundane, but which by virtue of being past are bathed in gold. I remember and I mourn and I forget. I cry and laugh, and sing. I do all of these things as I drive, winding my way home through suburban roads, and the goods spill out from the hastily packed bags in the boot.

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3 comments

  1. I love shopping for groceries (I know, I’m a freak in the wild), but I definitely relate to the music-in-the-car part. Certain songs can act as total wormholes to a past moment and bring up such strong feelings that for a moment in time I don’t know what I’m doing!

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  2. Lovely piece. Tracey Chapman’s “Sorry” came on a few times last week and I hadn’t heard it since the 90s. Imagine the nostalgia when we’re old – surely we’ll combust.

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