Last night after work I went to Coles to buy the makings of dinner.
I was hoping to go through the self-serve checkouts. Despite being very indignant about their invention to begin with (having spent many years as a checkout chick myself), I now much prefer them, especially after work, when I don’t feel like talking to anyone. Instead I was drafted to the register of an actual person, an older woman, easily in her late 60s.
She studied the things I was buying, easily concluding I was making spaghetti bolognaise. ‘Oh!’ she exclaimed, please with herself for recognising my intended meal, and by what came next. ‘This looks like my recipe!’.
I felt terrible, because money is tight right now, and I’d purposely selected the cheapest way to cook it. I’d forgone things like bay leaves and wine and a good parmesan for the very basics. I felt terrible because she was far too old to be standing for long shifts and what happened in her life that she still needed the income?
She passed me the bags and I stared at her nails, well maintained, painted a light pearl pink and I wished her a good night and meant it and already she was focussing on the next person over my shoulder.