Clean Up On Aisle 5


From top: Tesco, Parnell Street, Dublin 1; Anthony Sheridan

Mindfulness is a positive and very popular activity that enhances the lives of many people. Here’s a basic definition of the practice:

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing.

But now, darkly on the horizon, the evil cousin of mindfulness is upon us – forgetfulness. Here’s my definition of forgetfulness:

People who are away with the birds, not in the least bit aware of where they are or what they’re doing.

The initial response to the Coronavirus lockdown was almost 100% cooperation and awareness by the population, especially the supermarket population. But now, as complacency sets in, the virus of forgetfulness is rapidly spreading.

Last week when I visited a local supermarket there was two gel dispensers and two wipe dispensers. Yesterday, the dispensers were still there…but empty.

OK, I might have been unlucky to arrive just as the last drop of gel and the last wipe had been used from the four dispensers but, you know, what are the chances? Still, it’s a great supermarket so perhaps somebody just forgot to make a re-fill.

Anyway, on to the next supermarket and I’m having a look at some Easter eggs…one must indulge from time to time, mustn’t one?

I’m acutely aware that a woman is patiently waiting at a safe distance for me to finish, so I’m on a high speed scan of the goodies.

Suddenly, a father and daughter duo arrives…right next to me, with no awareness whatsoever of the danger they were putting the three of us in and no awareness that there’s a safety queue.

Because I don’t want to die I immediately retreat a safe distance while they excitedly discussed their options.

The patient, safety aware woman in the queue rolled her eyes to heaven and [perhaps because of the weekend that’s in it], I was miraculously granted direct access to her thoughts…’’I hope the bastards die’’, she screamed in her head.

My goodness, I thought, that’s a bit extreme hoping she hadn’t been granted the same miraculous powers as me.

I decided to head back to the first supermarket where there was a very large range of Easter eggs, so lots of room to peruse. When I arrived I was delighted to see just one man having a look.

Unfortunately, he was one of those very strange people that seem to inhabit supermarkets. Initially, he stood stock still looking at one item for what seemed like forever and then, slowly but ever threateningly, he began to move towards me.

When he began to breach my safety space I [again] retreated and waited for him to choose…and waited…and waited…and waited.

Exasperated, and beginning to understand the mindset of the woman in the other supermarket I went to the other end of the display. But, like some evil monster in a horror movie, he began to sidle his way back towards my safety space even though he had already forensically stared at every item there.

Now, anybody who knows me will confirm that I’m a timid, retiring, very reluctant to express an opinion type of guy…but…the forgetfulness virus of my fellow citizens is beginning to warp my gentle, Mother Teresa type personality into a….GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY SPACE YOU IDIOT…type of guy.

I mean, I’m fighting it…but I can see it happening.

Anthony Sheridan is a freelance journalist and blogs at PublicEnquiry.

Deadly forgetfulness virus is spreading (PublicEnquiry)


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5 thoughts on “Clean Up On Aisle 5

  1. Tinytim

    Forgetfulness is by *my* definition “wandering back and forth between shops for stuff you didn’t actually need”.

    It would appear we can all judge, and we can all poorly define things.

  2. scottser

    Be firm but polite about distance, it’s not hard.
    All that article said to me was ‘I’m afraid to speak my mind’. And you’re a journalist?
    Jesus wept..

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