As I have mentioned before, like Freddie Mercury, I’m living on my own. That is, pretty much, where the similarities between myself and Queen’s lead singer end. Also, if you listen to that song, it sounds like he’s singing, “beat old ladies, beat old ladies…”. I am not doing that. In fact I have never done that, nor do I intend to start, and I would sincerely hope that you don’t, as the song suggests, “beat old ladies”. Nor young ladies for that matter. Middle aged ladies, ladies who lie about their age, ladies who are actually men but they’re dressed as ladies… NONE of these people should be beaten. Ever. Thank you.
Anyway, I actually think, if you listen back, Freddie probably sings “be doh day dee” which makes the majority of the opening paragraph redundant. Still, if one more old lady can walk down the street without cowering everytime she sees a Freddie Mercury impersonator then maybe it has served it’s purpose after all.
So then, living on my own means that I sometimes go the odd day without seeing anyone (something that isn’t helped by being without my iPhone at the moment or, as the French say, “sans my iPhone a la moment”). Sunday is a prime example. I got in late from work on Sunday morning, slept for two hours, drove to the West Mids, spoke on the radio for 4 hours, came home, slept a bit more, then went to work in Nottingham on the night. During this whole time I actually only spoke to one other human. Although, given the choice of humans I could have spoken to, I was happy to have spoken to this human. For this human changed my life. I shall simply call her… Daisy (because that was her name).
Here is a brief description of events leading up the meeting that possibly changed my life forever: I woke up, realised I had no bread and, knowing full well that shops sell bread at this time of year, headed to the local Co-Op in my Derbyshire village. As I set out along the canal which runs alongside my house I couldn’t have been less aware of the love story that was about to unfold. As I walked along the water’s edge, a family of swans glided next to me. The adult swans, proudly taking care of their young signets, looked as though their life was complete. I remember thinking, “I hope my life is just like that one day.” Little did I know what was about to happen…
I walked into the shop. Now, it is important to remember at this stage that I only wanted bread. Nothing more and certainly nothing less. I walked up to the bread and, with relative ease, chose the loaf I wanted. However, and to this day I have no idea what made me take this route, I then decided to walk past the freezer section. As I did, something stopped me dead in my tracks. “Might get some veg,” I thought to myself, “seeing as it’s on offer.” So I did. I now had bread AND I had veg. Already events were taking on a life of their own.
With bread and veg in hand I made the short, yet fateful, journey to the tills. I put my bread and veg down on the counter and, as I looked up, there she was. Daisy. Her hair was the first thing that caught my eye. It glistened. It glistened like butter that has been left out of the fridge for too long on a hot, summers day. Her eyes, oh her eyes, they were both brown, both open. What is more, she had the skin of a woman who knew she had skin. For a brief moment, I could have sworn I heard harps playing (as it turns out it was just the entry alarm on the shop door).
So many thoughts were racing through my mind – “Will she smile at me?”, “Should I tell her how beautiful she is?”, “Have I got enough change to go back and get a Mars drink?”. It was then that she opened her soft, inviting, chewing gum caressed mouth and, almost whispering but actually at a normal level, asked me, “Do you want a separate bag for your veg?”.
“Do you want a separate bag for your veg?”. How the words resounded through my very soul. Did I? Did I want a separate bag for my veg? I didn’t know. I didn’t know what I wanted anymore! Only ten minutes before I was blissfully unaware that I even wanted veg. Now I was facing emotions that were running away with me like a thief in the night. Did I want a separate bag for my veg or did I want Daisy? Beautiful Daisy with the name of a cow but the face of an angel.
It was then that impulse took over. My head was all over the place. I didn’t know what I was thinking and, for those few, brief seconds, I didn’t care. It didn’t matter anyway, the desire in my soul overwhelmed me, there was nothing I could do. I looked Daisy in the eye and, almost as if something beyond my control was speaking for me, call it fate, call it destiny, whatever you call it, it drove the passion in my heart to reply, “No, I’ll be ok, thanks. ”
What a fool! What a fool I had been. Everybody knows you put frozen products in separate carrier bags, don’t they? By then it was too late to change my mind, the damage had been done. In that instance, everything I had worked so hard for was gone. The wedding with battenburg wedding cake, the children’s sports day where I’d come first in the Dad’s sack race, the 50th wedding anniversary with Five Star reforming for one last performance… it was all gone.
Having paid, in more ways than one, I left the shop. That was 3 days ago and I haven’t been back since. “But what of Daisy?”, I pretend to hear you ask. Well I haven’t heard but I imagine the next person who went into that shop and bought frozen products alongside fresh requested a separate bag. I imagine Daisy respected, neigh, probably loved him for this and I have little doubt they are married now, expecting their first child and looking forward to their 10th wedding anniversary.
So, it has been a painful journey, these past few days, but it’s been worth it to arrive here. Here’s What I Have Learnt Today: You should NEVER beat old ladies, you should SOMETIMES see other people and you should ALWAYS request a separate carrier bag for frozen items. Every day is another lesson learnt.