The Supermarket: A Place for Spiritual Practise

Like most of us, I do my best to be a nice person. It’s partly for selfish reasons, to be honest – I want to be so stable and happy within myself that no-one can really bother me. I can’t think of a better place to practise than the most annoying place on Earth: the humble supermarket.

Yesterday, I didn’t get off to a great start. First, old matey took my space. He was doing that manoeuvre where people who can’t manage to park properly drive straight through one park, and into the one in front. It saves them the difficulty of straightening up a little.

“Nah buddy”, I said, telepathically. “I was here first, and I’m already reversing. Just sort yourself out, learn to drive, and move back 20cms into the space you’ve already got”. I sat with my reversing lights on, expecting him to receive my telepathic message and do as instructed. It was a Mexican standoff, and he just sat there.

I slowly reversed at little. This will give you the hint.

Nope. He stayed where he was, with 90% of his car in one spot and 10% in the other. The spot that would require him to move back a little clearly wasn’t an option for him. He put his pointer finger up and swung it back and forth in a ‘tut-tut’ fashion, while shaking his head. I resisted the urge to respond with a different one-fingered gesture.

I found another park a few metres away, and focused on my next challenge: getting through the supermarket doors without making eye contact with the chirpy man wanting donations. The mission was a success.

Once inside, a lady seemingly in the midst of a daydream wandered in front of me. Despite being a slim woman, she managed to find the perfect spot in the middle of the isle to stop and ponder the universe, making it almost impossible to get past. I took a deep breath of frustration. “Hey lady, did you hear that deep breath of frustration? That’s because you’re annoying” I said, once again telepathically.

She ignored me.

So I inhaled to make myself smaller and turned sideways to squish past. “Excuse me”, I said…with actual words. She didn’t budge. Not even a tiny, token step forward as a gesture of politeness. My plastic shopping basket lightly brushed up against her jacket, and I didn’t even apologise. “There, take that!” I thought. “No apology for you!”

Returning from the supermarket I was very relieved to be home, away from all the chaos and humans. Some days are more challenging than others – it seems very apparent to me that it’s quite easy to be a nice person, if you avoid all human interaction.

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