house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Monday, 26 March 2012

44 days, 25

Hottest day yet: we could almost see the milk going off. A quick investigation of the fridge upstairs reveals only rust and horror. 'It might still work?' I venture. More horror, picturing the work needed to restore it to working order. 'There are new fridges, quite cheap...' Cheeta mentions casually. We go to the shops.

What a big mistake. We forgot it was Sunday. Sunday afternoon plus North Portugal equals: everyone goes shopping. Whole families pile into small rusty cars that spew black smoke while advancing prudently at 15 miles per hour. They arrive at the supermarket and spend a further half an hour parking (so what if that means 1) finding a good spot and 2) waiting for the occupier of said spot to finish their shopping and leave?) Then they file out of the car, dressed to kill.

The funniest thing is, having made all this effort just to SHOP, they walk around with vacant faces and slow steps, like prison inmates pacing their cells. They find something adequate: No smile. It fits: No joy. They can afford it: Scowl. They buy it with a pained, resigned air.

They leave the shop with their new dress / shoes / mobile phone / dry fish / hair band swinging in a dozen plastic bags. And No Expression.

While I observe this the kids are having a tag game around the shop. The fridges are either too small or too expensive. In a place like this I get exhausted faster than you can say 'surf'. We go home and collapse on the trampoline.


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