Never before have I felt more like a plastic bag.
I feel I want a plastic bag every time I enter the supermarket now, and see the signs everywhere, screaming
REMEMBER YOUR BAGS
I imagine it’s being said in a chipper yet patronising voice.
By the time you’ve spotted the sign, you’re already halfway through the turnstiles and there’s a queue of people behind you. Other times, you’ve managed to turn around and fight the unnatural spikes out of the way, and traipse what seems like 1500 metres back to the car to get the bags.
You know there’s bags you can buy here, though, as you absent-mindlessly grab a basket, even though (given you’ve forgotten the bags) you’re a no-list graze-shopper who at some point will have to go back through the turnstile and get a trolley.
And off you go into a wonderland of plastic-covered everything, and you wonder at what point in civilisation did everything become about…plastic? We’re doomed with it and without it and you are absolutely doomed if you turn up to Pak’nSave on a day where they’ve run out of saleable plastic bags.
I was there yesterday. A young couple, wide-eyed with innocence and the anticipation of being able to bag-up their 2000 metric tonnes of groceries, were met with the concrete wall of
“We’re out of bags.”
They stood there, bereft, silent. There was nothing to say. It was like death. There was nothing to negotiate, try as you might.
“But the groceries.”
said one of them. The cashier just stared, we all stared at the empty hooks where the bags should be. Certainly there were boxes, but at a time like this, boxes may as well be your own hands.
The devastation and enormity of the situation was so great, I thought of offering up my small alms of four plastic bags, recently purchased at Countdown because I’d forgotten them that day, but not today I hadn’t.
The Countdown plastic bags were so notoriously good, one day I overheard a lady ask for lots of them because they made amazing bin liners.
But back to our couple.
Off they went, slowly past the checkout area towards the sliding doors, to what fate we’ll never truly know. An archway of flames awaited them in the car park and they walked into the incendiary tunnel.
Locusts swarmed overhead as storm clouds gathered just above the bit where you can get the cheap fuel.
I imagined them picking up one or two items and putting them in the boot without bags, then having to get some bags from the house at the other end and bag up the groceries but in their own driveway like some sort of reverse weird torture ritual.
Every time I have a human interaction from now on, I’m going to say “Remember Your Bags”.
“Hi mum, I need a shower.”
“Remember your bags.”
“Hi, it’s Jason from Fisher Funds here. Have you thought about changing your KiwiSaver plan?”
“I haven’t got time because I need to remember my bags.”
“What’s for dinner?”
I’m white and 45.
When I was 25, I used to look at those birthday cards in the supermarket. The ones with ‘Naughty 40’ and ‘Nifty 50’. The card-makers would run out of ideas for the 60 year olds and just put on a gran-type figure on a walker, hastily making her way toward a Speedoed lifeguard.
Naughty 40 (to me) looked like a shocker of a place to be. It looked desperate. It was as if the brainstorming team at Hallmark were trying to make something good of it.
So, you’re 40. Boom, boom. Woof. You sexy old thing. Cor. I bet you’re a dirty, sexed up old 40 year old aren’t you. You can’t get enough.
And then you get to 40 yourself, and then to 45—which is nearly 50—and you are there. You are the person they refer to on the cards.
But what are you?
You are a lot of things. You are the same annoying Smiths-loving, wine-drinking lush you were in your 20s. Except you are now even more insufferable.
You now know every Smiths and Radiohead lyric. You argue on Twitter daily. You post your herb garden on Facebook and over on instagram, images of your prune tea beverage.
However, you notice that the only things that have really changed are that you do most of your Smiths-drinking at home because invariably, you have children or needy dogs or cats, or a full Netflix watchlist, and there’s really very few chances to get out and anyway, half the time you just can’t be fucked.
How do you spend your time? Here’s a short list:
1. You start to talk about politics, almost daily
Your brain is less addled with cheap Rheinecks, so you can think deeper, and your arts degree has made you a critical thinker.
2. You try to avoid looking old
How many sad, 45-year-old women are there walking around with Hollister hoodies on, trying to be funny on Twitter. Be warned.
3. You are curious
You really want to know everything and you find that the more you know, the less you know. You want to do everything, which is why every single night class and university is crammed with 40-somethings learning Dutch and trying to make polenta smoothies, blindfolded. In the dark.
You are not 45 unless you are glued to SoHo, living out your last days vicariously watching bad, violent medieval scenarios and then stroking your talking fridge—or your FitBit—and sipping your Sam Neill Pinot Noir and thinking, “I wonder if I should @ Sam Neill right now with an image of my own hand cradling Sam Neill’s wine?”
5. You actually made a comment about Richie and Gemma’s baby
Be it “leave them alone” or “haha anyone can procreate”, you still went there.
What are your thoughts on being in your mid-to-late 40s? Are you listening to more Anderson Paak than ever? Do you try to hide your age by calling everyone bae?
We’ve all had a bad experience or three on Trade Me.
It’s not the company per se, it’s the people who use it. A bit like hand guns.
You’ve wrapped the six sets of Merino wool, never-worn socks. The money has just gone in your account. You decide to post the item right away, because you are magnanimous. Your Trade Me handle is turntheothercheek2001, and you have one thousand successful trades to your name, all with positive feedback.
You post the item, and wait for weeks to receive the positive feedback you crave.
It never comes.
On another occasion, you are attempting to sell a car. It’s straight as a die, and your thesis-length description covers the condition of every bolt, washer and that you have recently replaced every single car part. As soon as you click the ‘Start Listing’ button, a barrage of questions ping into your inbox like bullets being fired into a tin bucket.
When does the WoF expire?
Has the cambelt been done?
I’ll give you $500 for it.
What’s wrong with it?
And, quiet as a mouse, you duly answer:
Thanks for the questions. They are really well thought out, and I love the way they probe me. As mentioned in the very first sentence of the description, the WoF has just been issued. This car does not have a cambelt to begin with, so we’re alright there. As specified in the description, I have requested no low-ball offers, or actually any offers, because it is an auction. There is nothing wrong with it, I just want to upgrade to something a bit gruntier. Thanks! 🙂 🙂 🙂 A+++++++ questions.
and soon after …
Can I pay you for it in a series of installments, of $20 a month?
and then the unthinkable …
$350.00 22 Nov 2:05 am uselesslifeform(0)
Yes, despite your best efforts to shy the above-mentioned bidder away from your completely transparent trade, he’s put a drunken bid on it.
Hi again Mate. I’ve put a bid on, not sure if I’m near the reserve? What’s the reserve?
Thanks for your ever-poignant line of questioning. I don’t wish to reveal the reserve. If I am honest, I’d like to get as much for the car as I can, not just reserve. Thanks, happy bidding.
There’s heaps of these up at the moment, all going for $1500 or less, it’s not the only one, so you might find you are the one who looses (sic) out.
Thanks for that. A cursory look at your feedback shows a person who has never actually completed a trade, although there’s been many attempts by people to get you to. Are you sure you want to be bidding on this item?
resulting in …
So you a stalker now too Mate? Bad look, remove my bid loser, there’s heaps of Toyota Corolla GLs on, gonna go get a really good one, not this piece of crap.
Think once, think twice, think “why the fuck am I doing this?”