I could have picked another aisle, but his was about to free up. It’s not only that, though. Today, I could do with talking to someone and he likes to talk. As I get loading, he tells me there’s been a troublesome customer. Took three security guards to get him out. He couldn’t take it today. He’s lost somebody close.
It’s not easy working in a supermarket when you don’t feel like talking to anyone, he says, his eyes glittering.
He asks how I am. For once I’m grateful for the mask, hides a faltering lip. I haven’t lost anyone I tell him, but someone in the family is grievously ill. It doesn’t look good.
We lament the year and it’s ending and agree the only good news to come out of it was the result of the US election.
Maybe under different circumstances we could be friends, I think. I’d like a friend like that. But I’m just a customer and he works on the checkout. This isn’t even my neighbourhood.
I clasp my trolley of goods and wish him well until the next time we encounter each other across the conveyor.