Thursday, 26 January 2023

Stranger danger

You've heard  people say they nearly jumped out of their skin?  I can assure you that can nearly happen.  I nearly did it the last time I was in the supermarket. 

I admit my nerves may have been a bit frayed by the increased cost of absolutely everything on the shelves but when a small child sitting in the trolley beside mine screamed I jumped.  I mean really jumped, I swear my feet left the floor.  I was truly alarmed.  I've heard lots of little ones' screams over the years but never a scream like that.  This was real terror, not fright or frightened, terror.  Before the scream was even finished the little one was screeching, "No, no, no!"

A lady who had picked up some tomatoes had turned to place them into the wrong trolley and found herself looking straight at a small child whose mother had turned away to pick up a few onions.  The child screamed.  Oh, how she screamed.  Every eye in the fruit and vegetable section turned to see what had happened to her.

The lady with the tomatoes took a step backwards and put her arms in the air as if to profess her innocence.  Unfortunately, she stepped backwards into another shopper who also got a fright at having her feet stepped on and hearing screaming at the same time.

The screaming child fell silent the instant she caught sight of her mother again and her mother had a look of resignation combined with embarrassment.  I'd wager this is not the first time that child has suffered from separation anxiety (I think that's what they call it these days).  Or the first time she has exercised her lungs in such a piercing scream.  Without a word she exited the scene without a thought for the poor woman with the tomatoes.  I couldn't describe the look on her face.  She was mortified, deeply embarrassed and humiliated.  She looked so uncomfortable my heart went out to her and I touched her on the arm and told her she didn't look very scaryy to me.  In hindsight there are many other things I could have said to comfort her but that's all I could come up with at the time.  What she needed was a hug but one can't go around hugging strangers, more's the pity.


  1. I could probably hug a stranger. I am an old gray-haired lady, so I thik I might get away with it.

  2. It was kind of you to say something to the lady. It sounds like the sitation was awkward all the way around.

  3. It makes one wonder what that child will be like when it grows older. I feel for that poor woman with the tomatoes - and you nearly losing your skin! I hate frights, and that one takes the cake.


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