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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

We are not one

We split up. Divide and…….....hobble through. I take the child who has no words to the supermarket, for a mega shop before our guests arrive. To be fair, out guests are also very good friends. We could feed them Goldfish Crackers and water with no ill effects.

On arrival, after a unimaginably smooth transition, I read an item from the list aloud and he hurtles off with his telescope pinned to his eye ball, a game.

In less than 20 minutes we have a groaning trolly, overflowing at the check out. The bagger, a familiar face, is unusually cheerful. We exchange pleasantries. I notice him read the pull-up details and glance at my son, askew. He pops the paper prescription sack into a grocery bag, but not before checking for shop lifter additions and maybe the name?

For the first time ever, I notice that the bagger has a physical disability. I cannot decide if this is because I am abnormally distracted, abnormally undistracted on this particular occasion or completely unobservant. I mention my observation to him. I smile at him encouragingly, because we are all members of the same club, because I am an idiot. He winces because I am crass, inappropriate and extremely rude. With my ignorance caught on display, I cannot work out whether to apologise or simply shut up? I conclude that I am the one who is really not safe to be let out in public.

My son observes the checker with his telescope, in silence. I decide to move on although I’m not sure if it’s to hide my own embarrassment or his? “Are you going over to the Farmer’s Market tonight or is that considered treason?” I ask the bagger. He purses his lips in response. I feel waves of self pitying shame wash over me.

My son parks himself between my legs on the floor, horizontal, still in silent observation mode. Fortunately I wear trousers. As I struggle with payment I search for a life line. My son observes his own reflection in the mirror, which is strategically placed at floor level at an angle, thigh high, although I fail to comprehend the underlying strategy?
“Can I help you out with your bags today?” he asks in a tone that means the opposite.
“No thank you, my son will help.” We both look at my son who beams a toothy grin, which serves to say the day, for me at least.

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