Monday, 28 December 2009

The Ballad of Lucy Jordan

I woke late this morning feeling as if I'd miscarried my heart. The sun was shining brightly and it took a long shower, two strong americanos and a fast drive with the lid down and the heated seats on to collect Terrier 9 from the kennels to shift the black dog on my shoulder. And then the bovine plod around Tesco. I'd forgotten my iPod so the soundtrack was crap and frankly why the hell does everyone insist on eating all the ruddy time? It seems so self indulgent.

When I got to the checkouts word had clearly spread that heavy snows are forecast and I found myself at the end of a long queue. This not being a great situation, I found the Chief Pig in The Suit gave her a big smile and asked if I might start to disgorge my chosen comestibles onto the currently unused checkout conveyor belt and if she wouldn't mind finding me a checkout buddy? To my amazement she said yes and seconds later I found myself being watched by an elfin boy perched on a chair in front of the till.

One of the many ways I make life bearable is to talk to people. Strangers and sad looking old people in particular. And especially the person with the dreary job of scanning my shopping. I try and make it more fun for us both. This boy is new and to be honest, he didn't look very promising. I opened discussions by pretending to steal the 12 pack of loo paper and then telling him that stealing loo paper is one of my many guilty secrets. He agreed heartily and added that whenever he goes camping in Devon he steals it from libraries, swimming pools and cafes. Cool. Furthermore, it is one of the ways we redress the general balance of injustices. Yes yes.

Next I noticed that the man behind the man next in line is the ex step father of an old friend who is an artist, for whom, 20 years ago, I used to model. It was either that or sluicing down the morgue as I had bought a very fast and expensive car and needed to pay for it. I leant forward and told the elfin lavatory paper thief my next guilty secret, and added that after The Artist started insisting I had supper in the pub with him after the sessions and then got a bit fruity I stopped turning up. And that later I'd discovered that in fact he only painted dogs and horses.

ELPT gave me a big smile, I keyed in my four digit code, and he said 'I do a lot of life drawing. Someone has to be the model'. I laughed and walked away wondering if I'd just been the victim of a great big double bluff. Or perhaps he was just talking to a sad looking old person.


  1. This, of course, is why there is never any bog roll anywhere...

  2. I've had that feeling of miscarrying my heart, what a great description!

  3. so you do that too, talk to strangers in checkout queues I mean. Daughter has me signed up for cheapest care home on account of my earlier onset dimentia as she salls it

  4. I talk to strangers everywhere Nicky. And always pick up hitch hikers, unless they are obviously mass murders.