“Idiot,” somebody in the queue behind me muttered, just loud enough for me to hear. I’m indifferent to public opinion. The feeling is so ingrained that I can’t imagine being otherwise. The woman on the till scanned my items very slowly. It was part of a game she was playing. Several times, she pressed a button to call over a manager; whenever they arrived, she would claim something was wrong with the till, only for the problem to be magically resolved when she tried again. She was trying to highlight the number of items I had purchased. I admire cunning, even if used against me. However, each time, the managers declined to intervene. Such situations are why I could never be in a position of authority. Every day, a seedy compromise; each moment packed with tiny pressures. Like your skin being constantly pierced with needles, although so slender the pain barely registers.
A stocky man shoved a basket into my hip as I passed the self-service area. “Sorry, mate,” he said, maintaining eye contact with a heavy glare. Two bags fell from my trolley and I held still for long enough to prove my lack of fear. We both showed our contempt without resorting to a cross word; such beautifully constructed etiquette. The automatic doors jammed as I approached them and a woman tutted at me as she strolled into the Supermarket through the exit. A little boy held on to her jeans with a weak grip, looking up with watery, oval eyes. He was probably her son, but perhaps a stray urchin, washed up from one place to another, kept going only by that strip of denim.