Saturday, January 6, 2018

Why follow the beaten path?

My whole life has been spent off the beaten path.  It was never intentional.  Never something planned.  It's always just happened spontaneously.  I am on the path following everybody else, and then VWOOMAH!  Everybody has disappeared and I trudge through the thick undergrowth, fighting branches with spiky thorns, to try and find the well-used path again.  The problem is that when I find it, my Dorothy Slippers fly me off somewhere else again.  It is an ongoing battle I'll never win.  There is a part of me that wants to conform, wants to do what everybody else does.  But when an idea presents itself that sounds good at the time, logic has no place in this mind.
Take today for example.  I needed to buy quite a bit of groceries as I have some recipes planned for tomorrow that I want to try out.  Usually, I only buy what I can carry in my backpack which is quite limiting when you have big things planned.  But today my backpack was already full of wool I had bought to knit myself a sweater during the long cold evenings.  When I arrived at the supermarket, I decided to be smart and only take a wheelie basket, as you can't fit that much in it.
I should have realised that it is Cindy we are dealing with here.
Soon my wheelie basket was so full that I couldn't force another item into it, and had to carry the bag of flour in my hands while pushing the overflowing basket, having to stop periodically to try and pick up items that fell out.  This proved to be quite difficult, as I had to keep holding the handle of the wheelie basket so that it didn't fall down and knock groceries off the shelf, with one hand, and carry the bag of flour with the other.  I tried my best not to look frazzled.
With all this going on, I forgot to look at my shopping list I had spent a large part of the morning drawing up.
At the checkout, I was pleased that my groceries only filled 4 large shopping bags.  My triumphant smile as I packed them soon turned to despair as I tried to lift them.  It felt like I had gone to a quarry and bought rocks.  What the hell did I buy?  I staggered to the escalator, wondering how the hell I was going to walk the length of the Mall carrying 4 large bags filled with rocks.  As I approached the first escalator, I realised that I no longer had any feeling in my fingers and that I was about to drop my groceries.  Glancing down, I noticed my fingers had changed colour and were either as white as the snow outside, or as purple as an alcoholic's nose.  It was at that point I realised that conforming was not going to work.
I turned around and staggered back to the supermarket, paid a deposit for the shopping trolley, and blissfully packed my grocery bags and very full backpack into it.  Flexing my fingers, I managed to get some of the feeling back.
Where I stay, the taxi rank is at the train station, about 100m from the shopping mall.  As I exited the Mall and began to push my laden shopping trolley through the snow, I became aware of strange looks from the locals walking past me.  It was true that nobody else was pushing a shopping trolley outside, and I did seem to be the only one, but at the time I didn't realise that I was leaving the beaten path again.  Until my shopping trolley got stuck in the snow!
No matter what I did, I couldn't make it budge.  Luckily, a kind Dad with his two young children pushed it from behind while I pulled it from the front.  He first spoke to me in Norwegian, but when I explained that I hadn't yet mastered the language, he explained in English that nobody ever takes a trolley out of the Mall and this was the first time he had ever seen anybody attempt it.
Maybe I have started a new trend.
Cindy Vine currently lives in Norway and is the author of Not Telling, Defective and Hush Baby.  All her books are available at in both Kindle and Paperback format.


Aya Katz said...

Hi, Cindy. When did you move to Norway? How long are you staying? What about the school you run back home? I used to get off the beaten path quite a lot, such as when I taught in Taiwan, but now I am so off the track that I have been in the same place for over sixteen years.

Unknown said...

Skis! You are going to have to get skis for your shopping trolley, backpack etc

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