Most of my social contact consists of trips to Tesco. This might be sad, but I read an even sadder story the other day. It was about this guy who’d go smoking to where the homeless hang out so they’d ask him for a cigarette. His only social contact.
My trips to Tesco are a life study. It’s about a kilometre away, sitting atop a hill. I’m not used to hills because I formerly lived in a region that was perfectly flat, like my chest. At least the way back, when I carry my groceries, is down the hill, like my life. On the way, I watch people.
The locals seem to be quite a homogeneous bunch. Men prowl around in boiler suits. Women wear nondescript clothes, natural hairstyles and no make-up. For some reasons, most people look ugly. Not plain, outright ugly. It might be the radiation from the nearby nuclear plant.
The people are nice though. Even the cashiers in the supermarket. I always get suspicious when they smile at me, wondering if I forgot to wear a shirt or what. The next thing I know we’ll be on first name terms. Most people seem to be on first name terms with most other people. It’s a small town.
It was fittingly expressed by an old man in Tesco, who was walked around by what was apparently his middle-aged daughter. She observed with some discomfort, “You’re wearing sweatpants in town?!” He says, “What town? It’s a village.” So it’s a village.
This doesn’t answer my questions though. Where are smart men in suits and fancy women in dresses? Should I get me a boiler suit? Am I expected to engage in small conversation with other people in my queue? Should I ask the cashiers about their children / spouses / pets / gardens? Should I get me a garden? What the fuck is the behaviour code here and why is everyone so weird?