It’s one of those rare Fridays. I teach at neither the business schools in Paris nor at the university near my house today. I don’t have the occasional online English sessions with the adult learners either. I have the whole day to myself. A free day in the week makes the 24 hours of no obligations more delectable, as compared to a Saturday or a Sunday. It’s especially true when the said day extends the weekend or what the French would say ‘faire le pont‘, literally ‘making the bridge (between Friday and the weekend).
A free Friday means that I can avoid grocery shopping on Saturday, steering clear of the weekend shopping warriors pushing the big metallic trolleys. Being an early riser myself, I found myself among one of the few shoppers at the nearby Auchan supermarket which opens daily at 8:30 a.m. I was not the only early bird, of course. As usual, most of the shoppers belonged to the senior crowd—the mamies and papis–the grandparents, the retirees.
Shopping on a weekday morning doesn’t mean that I can be in and out of the supermarket in record time. Actually, the shopping trip may not be as efficient as I hope to be.
Arriving at the store opening hour usually means that I have to weave the supermarket’s little red plastic trolley-on-wheels around the store workers who are busy unpacking the boxes and stacking the products on the shelves. I have to avoid certain aisles as the staff sometimes partially or completely blocks the narrow aisles with their food crates. It also means that I must pay more attention to my little trolley not accidentally knocking over or blocking the food crates. Being that early at the supermarket also means that the products I want may still be unpacked in the food crates, yet to be laid out on the shelves. Hence, I may have to return a few minutes later hoping that products have been replenished. Today’s shopping trip played out as expected.
After successfully loading the little red plastic trolley with my week’s supply of provisions, I moved intently towards the queue at the cashier. As there were only three male customers at the queue with not much groceries, I thought I would just join in the queue instead of using the self checkout.
It served me right for being lazy. The first two customers went through the cashier queue quickly enough. Hélas, the man just in front of me, in his early thirties, took a bit of of time to pack and pay for his groceries. All in all, the shopping took me about 35 minutes, still not too bad. It’s not the last of my shopping for today though.
On the days that I work mornings (as early as 8:20 am in Paris), I usually have my breakfast on-the-go. That is, spending 10 minutes wolfing down my typical homemade sandwich of margarine-jam, magarine-condensed-milk, or Nutella sandwich at some little obscur corner at the schools, smoothing the process with blackish water dispensed from vending machines. Yes, that’s the life of a freelance English teacher in France.
Since it’s my precious day off, I have decided to indulge myself in some sinful butter-loaded French pastries. Not just one croissant, but TWO croissants, savouring them leisurely at home with a cup of excellent brewed coffee.