It was lunch time and there were dishes from the night before that needed washing. The fact that we had dishes on the sink means we are getting something to eat at night. There is still food available in our country, although the shelves on supermarkets are getting bearer and bearer.
I was uncomfortable being desperate for dishwashing liquid. Washing dishes is a thing males take to grudgingly, not exerting energy over. But I didn’t care. I was the only one in the house who could go shopping that day and I needed something to wash the dishes with in a hurry. Or should I say the other person I live with would wash them. That decision was for another moment. As for now I took a great leap out the door. I briskly walked to a supermarket, one that didn’t have queues outside. I dreaded waiting outside those kind of supermarkets for eons. It would have seemed like ages for nothing.
At this supermarket, I went straight in for the aisles and got a few items. I went looking for the dishwashing liquid, and kept looking, but the shelves were empty. There was none. Not to worry, I thought. I could try another supermarket once I pay for the other items. It was all a bit of wishful thinking. All the other supermarkets had queues outside. I would be waiting for donkey’s years.
With the items I had, I walked over to the counter and waited to be served. There was one person ahead of me and I waited patiently for her to finish, but I really wanted to get out of there quick. I did not want to hang around to catch the dreaded disease. So, I was keeping the social distancing rule as best I could; two meters apart in public. At the counters, there were even signs on the floors to tell you where to stand. It was strange, different, and unusual, but I kept my head.
Looking to the left of me, I didn’t know why there was this long queue at the other end of the supermarket. Then I saw the manager coming over and I dreaded what he may do next. He looked business. Official looking. But he was stocky like a guy in a rodeo. This burly man walked over to me and said I had to get my behind the queue at the other end!
I was staying put. That queue had a long line of people there already! And I was second in line here!
Was this a bad joke? A sick tale to tell his friends? A horror story to tell his mates and have a good laugh at afterwards? While they sat around a camp fire and were safe and sound in another part of the world? He didn’t care about me! Or others. He was telling everyone else to do the same!
Naturally, I was upset, and perplexed. Upset that I would have to wait for ages in that queue to be served. Perplexed in that I had no idea why as I had gone into the shop yesterday and been served in minutes and out of there smartly. But now they were telling me and others that the queue was there for everyone. So, that’s why there was a queue yesterday. I was supposed to be in it.
I got a bit gruff with the manager when I heard the manger’s pointed, blunt advice. “If you want to shop here, you have to get behind the queue.” Oh so smooth. He was stressed out.
I decided to shop elsewhere. I put the items back on the shelf. I left the shop with no items, but satisfaction that I wouldn’t have to face that queue. I would find another place and get only the two essentials, dishwashing liquid and tea bags. But where?
In the vicinity, there were queues outside the other supermarkets, but I walked past them, hoping for better.
I knew there were tea bags at the local service station and they may even have dishwashing liquid. They were usually a bit expensive, though. Even so, I was really desperate, now, and ashamed how I stooped so low to get dishwashing liquid. For a male this was beyond reproach.
They are a smaller store, but I knew the shop well, and they usually have essential items. Would those items be there with all that has been going on down here. Lockdown, that new word, that new thing, that new reality, that so unusual alternative reality.
Getting back to normal for a moment, I was happy they had the tea bags, but not the dishwashing liquid I usually get. There were two other options, though. One looked just right. In fact, it was a better dishwashing liquid than the one I would usually buy at the supermarket. It wasn’t chemically based. It contained natural ingredients. Aloe Vera. And they say petrol stations contribute to polluting the world. The owners here are good people. They sell Aloe Vera products as well as petrol!
The Aloe Vera was just what I needed—an even ‘healthier’ liquid than the chemical one I had been getting.
I went back home and thought about my day out. The queues outside the supermarkets forced me to go to a smaller shop and buy a better product that I may use again and again. The label on this brand new dishwashing liquid said, “Caring for our world”. I thought the label was apt, as for me, I was cared for. And the dishes got done that day.
I bought another Aloe Vera dish washing product but have not purchased the same dishwashing liquid since then. I wish I had, but I went back to my old one, the “tried and true”.
It does not mean I won’t ever again buy Aloe Vera dishwashing liquid. It’s a washing liquid to be savored, now that it saved the day, April 15th, 2020.