I’m a Capricorn and, typical of my birth sign, I’m thrifty. Every week, just after dawn I drive off to the Central Market in Adelaide. I can buy all the food I need there for the week. Some people speak glowingly of the vibe of the market, but for me the vibe comes from the products, fresh vegetables, meat, fish, nuts, cakes, smallgoods, cheeses, breads, or the ancillary goods like shoes, plants, jewellers, plastic rubbishy things, clothes, neck massages, etc.
Today I woke up with a headache and as I was driving into the city, I shifted into the left lane to turn, and missed a cyclist by centimetres. I’m terrified of cyclists. They manage to ride in the dead-space between the rear vision mirror and the side vision mirror and then suddenly loom out of the traffic to frighten the life out of sensitive souls like me. This one was in the wrong, but I didn’t feel any better knowing I could have killed him. So, my head throbbed even while I was wandering up and down the aisles of the most calming place I know.
While I was buying a packet of fettuccine my thoughts suddenly disappeared. The trader was standing there, waiting, and I broke out in a cold sweat. My head started spinning. I gave him a charming smile (that’s my terrified smile) and said, “I’m sorry. I think I’m having a delayed panic attack and I don’t know what I’m doing.” He said, “Don’t worry. I often have panic attacks myself but not usually when I’m buying pasta.”
That was a good hint from him about what I was doing and so I looked in my purse but couldn’t focus. He apparently could see I was in trouble because he kept talking to me in a calm voice and although I couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying, my ‘attack’ responded to his tone and we ended up discussing sage and butter sauce, although at the time I was panicked and shaking. When I’d paid for and collected my pasta, I said, “Thank you so much. You got me through that without too much drama.” He’d been trying to encourage me to sit and wait but somehow I couldn’t. I walked off not even embarrassed because I still felt weird.
I hadn’t moved too far away before he was there beside me. He held out a little pink rabbit sweet and said to eat it because I probably needed sugar. He’d gone to a nearby stall and bought it for me!
With an astonished, slightly misty smile, I went to the meat stall where the boss started talking to me about, of all things, gardening, and when I went back to the smallgoods stall, the trader there said, “So, what did we forget?” we meaning me, because I’d only been there about ten minutes before. He thought it was a great joke, which also cheered me up because that meant he remembered me (and he served me before people he didn’t remember). That place is so busy you could buy from the same trader week after week for a year and they still wouldn’t recognise you.
Finally, with everything on my list bought, I walk-alated up to the car park, stood in front of the pay station, looking in my purse for the right change for the machine. Two men walked up behind me and I stepped back, not because I step back for men, but to save being elbowed out of the way. Previous occasions have taught me that when men see women getting money out of a purse, they take that as an invitation to shove their ticket into the machine and then fossick around in four or five pockets searching for change, while the woman who has found the right money long before, waits. I like to have my money in my hand and tap my foot politely while they sweat out their search. I think I’m helping womankind and that in future they’ll be more mannerly.
These two men stood back, smiled, and let me put my ticket and money in first. Either they’d come across me before and didn’t want to look rude, or they’d also decided to show the best of themselves.
Or, I’d just given two more people the opportunity to be good to me.
So, I’ve changed my mind. I think I now go to the market not only for the glorious fresh produce but also for the amazing, friendly, caring vibe. Try getting the same in the local supermarket. There, they even expect you to pack and check yourself out.
The Adelaide Central Market – Shop Here: We’re Friendly and Fantastic.