Today, what with it being sunny, dry and warm, I decided to be 'positive'. Don't walk around looking for all the unsavoury, depressing and socially inept sights or characters. Don't tut to yourself, don't make harsh judgements based on appearances...
I was behind schedule for the school run this morning, this would usually mar my day. Being late, even by minutes is something I find completely inexcusable. I only have one friend who shares this view, it seems to be a dying habit. Today, no way was I going to let being 3 minutes late for the bell make me feel I was destined to burn in hell (oh dear, that rhymes).
On to the supermarket, not a place I frequent, I usually shop online. Doing a full weeks' grocery shopping for a family of 5, with a toddler in tow? Testing.
Large spaces with lots of people in are only good for one thing-people watching. Shopping? Putting food which can then be transformed into a meal into a trolley? Impossible. Instead of loading up on vegetables, fruit, nappies and so forth, I usually find myself picking up 'stuff'. Said stuff can be anything from a years supply of hand wash to yet another wooden spoon (I have lots).
Fair play to me, today I managed to do a reasonable shop, lots of healthy food. Nobody remarkable really stood out, probably because I had decided to abandon focussing on the negative aspects of modern British culture.
Putting shopping away is crap, I loathe it, along with putting ironed clothes away, dishes etc. Today I just did it, and then walked to the park with Sonny.
En route to the park, I witnessed some charming scenes; an elderly gent playing the saxophone outside Nat West Bank, and two ladies hugging unashamedly (I think they hadn't seen each other for ages). I saw a lady who looked to be in her seventies dressed very elegantly, purple trousers, purple knitted jacket, coordinating floral scarf, tan leather bag with matching shoes and pretty earrings (I wanted to take a picture of her). Over the bridge to the park we were delighted to see a group of ducks socialising at the riverside.
The sun was strong, the air slightly crisp, happy toddlers sliding, swinging and see-sawing, a clichéd park scene. Sonny didn't fall, do a pooh, cry or have a tantrum, the park was a success. I pointed out a squirrel, Sonny marvelled at it and made me laugh trying to pronounce 'squirrel'. I decided to head for the other side of town, where a new ice-cream parlour has opened. I arrived to discover my purse housed just one solitary pound coin, and they didn't take cards. The kind owner let me have an ice-cream for £1 instead of £1.30, Sonny loves ice-cream.
Walking back through town, I refrained from thinking too much every time I saw an unpleasant scene. Sonny was taking his time eating the ice-cream, so I avoided most of the shops. Withdrawing some cash from the bank, I overheard a familiar voice. Realising it was an old friend of my brother, I turned to look, 'my goodness' I thought, 'he looks bloody awful'. I got the impression he deliberately hung back in order to walk behind me, pretending to be looking at a stall on the market. I sat on a bench to feed the last drops of melted ice-cream to Sonny.
I was approached, "I don't know your name, but I know your brother don't I?" Still reeling from the deterioration of his appearance I replied, "yes". More small talk than I was comfortable with ensued, including the classic question "what are you up to?" Indeed, what on earth am I up to? "Not a lot, the kids keep me busy"
I was reluctant to pose the same question, the honest answer would have been "oh, you know, shooting up heroin, snorting coke, smoking weed, drinking shit cider, the usual really".
His next question was "are you married then?" hmm, "No, but I live with my partner, we'll get married one day" (and if I was't with someone, you'd be top of my wishlist).
Purposely giving off a standoffish vibes, I wrapped the conversation up, "I'm off now, loads to do, look after yourself".
"Bye, and I just want to say, you've lost loads of weight haven't you?"
"Er, yes I have"
"You've always looked lovely to me though, say hi to your brother for me, take care."
I practically ran off, dived into the first shop, which happened to be my favourite charity shop.
I found a lovely dress, old school Marks and Spencer's, St Michael's. Only £2.25, and in unworn condition, it was waiting for me.
As I reflected on my dialogue with the troubled friend of my brother, I chuckled. It comes to something when the only compliments you get are from junkies who look twice their age. Today though, was positive day so I changed my view; a compliment is a compliment, whoever it is from.
When I tried the dress on at home, it fitted like a dream.