I’ve just invented that word. I’ll send it to the Oxford English Dictionary people before receiving a rejection in eight months time. It will say: “Thank-you for your suggestion but we think you made it up. Now go and acquire a meaningful existence.”
For me however, it has a valid meaning. A shopachronic is someone who tries to shop normally but is blighted by the limitations of their chronic condition. For example, I can happily tootle around the supermarket in my scooter but items on the top shelves or buried at the back of a chiller are inaccessible. So, I’ve developed a way of getting them. Firstly, I try leaning towards the desired object, accompanied by a few little grunts and groans. Then, I employ the hook of my walking stick to entice the obnoxious little item into my reach. By the time I reach the final part of my routine; making an attempt to stand pathetically, some very kind person comes to my aid. It could be anyone; a helpful rugby type, a busy mum burdened with several lively children, someone with a walking stick, proudly showing off their mobility prowess despite needing the stick, an old dear (they always like a nice little chat) or even one of the staff. The staff are good because if I can inject enough pathos into my performance, they will happily race around the store and complete my purchases for me. That’s not exactly true; I don’t put it on but I can’t resist some poetic licence. I am deeply heartened by this. Yet I am a little saddened. What is happening to my independence? Why can’t I do everything on my own? Now, this article can go one of two ways; I can launch into some form of depressive lament about the evil toll of the great beast I live with or I can stop and think. How many times do we say: “Think of the positives.”? (I’m not quite sure where the question mark goes in that statement.) To get to the shop in the first place required a quite stunning choreography of preparation and dynamic action. And this is a complete solo act. It can be a long act. The MS brain fog makes sequencing difficult so I will forget bits and pieces and need to waddle and wheel back and forth between the driveway and the flat. (Give me strength.) Then it is the pleasant trundle up the road to the supermarket.
Yes, I know I can shop online and I do but sometimes I need to break out of my four walls and taste the real world.
Now, I get called posh for shopping in Waitrose. But it’s the nearest one and I know where everything is. Of course, there are many people who float about the place wearing the great smugness of “I’m here because I can afford it” as they make loud remarks about organic this, organic that and caring about the future of the planet. That last one is actually worthy but we don’t have to crow about one’s dedication to it. In fact, I have taken to Tesco’s for my online shop. Waitrose is my top-up shop. Because I’m a “savvy shopper” (Don’t you just hate that phrase?), I don’t spend too much on buying just to look good. I say not too much but I do like their inner cellar wine collection. Well, sometimes I think I deserve a good bottle of a sumptuous red. Most of my shopping is for basic fruit and veg and ingredients. Why? Because, and here is a massive positive, I like to cook for myself. In fact, my flat is now finely tuned to allow me to sail between cooker, cutting board and most importantly, the dishwasher. I tend to get my meat from a local farm. In addition, I have been to other supermarkets and everyone has been exceptionally helpful. Another positive. Maybe shopachronic is not the right term after all. I think it should be shopahelpful. It’s not an ordeal, it’s a pleasure and I am grateful for being able to do it. Thank-you for reading.