Back from a supermarket trip. The mud we were breathing for days (a combination of humidity and dust in the atmosphere) finally went away yesterday. While Europe is covered with snow or glazed with black ice, the dusk here was definitely vernal, all mellow colours and at a fine balance between chill and warmth, the first in the form of a slight breeze, the latter fuelled by the afterglow of a sunny day. Once more, I remembered strawberry eating on the grass in the English garrison town’s mid-July.
I bought some oyster sauce and it would not go through at the check out. So I had a little more time to observe the supermarket kids. These are invariably immigrant underage boys (once eighteen they can work in construction, or elsewhere) from the ex-Soviet Union. They help customers with filling our many bags and follow us to the car, sometimes helping out with the trolley. If you cannot bother returning the trolley, they earn the 20c piece by docking it for you. Otherwise they never ask for anything from customers and most of them get excited when thanked for their help.
Hence, one of them was summoned by the checkout person to look for the shelf I got the sauce from in order to check the price. In the meantime, the checkout person stared wearily in the distance. I felt, not really thought, two things: I am privileged to have done similar jobs for only a total of 18 months in my life; moreover, these people are beyond the reach of lofty political vision (practical but not very effective and slow-moving) or the soothingness of art (dramatic and life-changing, but less practical, it also requires dedication and, ultimately, money), so they rely exclusively on human relations to keep human after 8 hours of this…
On my way out two of the supermarket kids were debating which is the second best Outpost football team.