14/02/2015 by Alan Crawford
Louie had a choice
Remarkable things were happening. A revelation, a cleansing with an optimistic view of the future. Not only his future, but Louie had a choice. He’d had triggered a chain of events that he couldn’t stop, even if he wanted to. He didn’t. He proceeded with such unrestrained enthusiasm it was exciting to watch. No-one knew about it though, only Louie and those involved. This private matter was kept very quiet and well guarded. Excitement was hard to calm, hard to control the urge, to blurt out the details. Make an announcement, cry out, or scream the enormity of the change. Louie thought it would be best to keep it on the low-down.
Louie sure had a steep hill to climb and much chaos to calm. Many important things needed to be done but he had time to complete them. The first thing to do was re-enforce the decision, secondly plan on how it will be achieved. Louie spent hours in deep thought, too many times to the detriment of clear thinking. He just got hooked up on minor details, the what ifs, and a trees for forest type confusion.
One person he could depend on for clear thinking, one who could crystallise the thinking and the ramifications was always there to help. He was a rock, not the kind of a friend that would just agree, but really understand and offer solutions. He was a real friend. Roger understood the complexity of such a decision and could offer tangible actions to ensure it worked.
The first thing Roger managed to accomplish was getting Louie to fully understand why he was doing what he was doing. That in itself was the first hurdle, why change and was it absolutely necessary? Roger had a calm reassuring manner which sometimes flipped over to a wild side. Louie liked both and would appreciate either view when offered. Louie was now prepared.
This deep thinking and final wish to act came at Louie on a Saturday morning. He gathered his personal grooming materials, showered, applied some suitable smells, protection and drove his small white hatchback out into the wide world. The world was the same as every other day but everything felt heightened to the increasingly excited Louie. The neighbours looked him with a quizzed look on the face, the idiot who nearly ran him off the road was also looking rather strangely to the now confident Louie.
The journey through Smithton was full of new sights, smells and experience. Louie had navigated himself to the point of no return and again his thoughts raced. Well this was it, do it. You’ve talked about this for so long, you’ve justified, dreamt, mangled, rearranged, changed, faltered and landed at this point in time – ready to do it. The Woolworths had opened only 10 minutes prior to Louie’s arrival.
It was a small suburban store with a recently “objections denied” smug look about itself. The large logo gleamed in the morning light and the rain had left puddles splashed about the concrete driveway and path into the welcoming sliding doors. Louie stood at this closed doorway and with one last Roger whisper lurking in his mind .. strode into the now packed store. The doors opened. Loads of eager young ladies, lovely old dears, creepy single men and apparently normal families with their tribes in tow. Screaming children, pick up lines and enquiries such as “excuse me – do you know where the muesli bars are kept?”
The creepy guys and old dears seemed to share some patter, with a varied result. The families flew around blissfuly unaware of the cliches and the crisis that drove Louie’s attendance. He just walked down the aisle and searched for the forbidden fruit. Single creepy and the extra creepy married guys roamed about the store like a swarm of zombies seeking brains. The body part they sought wasn’t brains as they were often frightened by ladies with brains. They only sought psychical connections, a bump here and a bump there. Outside in the car park even, they didn’t care. Once or ongoing, that didn’t matter either. Ladies were like groceries in their mind, a use by date or if they’re lucky a best before. The old dears just muddled their way about while grumbling about the pack of the single guys overtaking them aisle after aisle.
The only people that spoke to the old dears were the employees planted to hide food and general products throughout the store. This had a twofold purpose. One – that they could explain where things were and Two – so they could keep the oldies entertained while they unwittingly placed yet more and more in their trolleys. The trolley design also helped in this crass commercial manipulation. They only went left. Left was the path of choice discovered to be a magic crowd control solution. More sales from left turns, so left it was.
The single guys had no trolleys and that was why their movements caused so much chaos. The cover of being a lady hunter in the store ensured that they had to actually buy some things. They normally picked a few microwave meals, personal care products and some breakfast cereals. The fruit and vegetable section was only for the very experienced single guys. Not for a novice that’s for sure.
Not in the fruit and vegetable aisle for Louie, he was dodging old dears in the laundry section. Louie drew close to the target. The torment, the discussions, the guidance offered by Roger came to a head. He was standing there and he was determined. His eyes searched the shelves. There it was, the sparkling pack, gleaming white with it’s closely researched message reading out to those that read. OMO Sensitive – tough on stains gentle on skin – 2 litres.
Louie reached down and grabbed the pack with an attentive, i must think about this approach. He read the carefully researched script on the pack and told himself – “YES” The only thing to do now is get out of the store. With his proud achievement under his arm he headed to the checkout. He strode past all the old dears, the range of single creeps and the bewildered employees who were certain that they would have to help him. Paid, packaged, thanked and gone. He was out. He phoned Roger and told him the news. Roger was very impressed and offered congratulations. Louie went home and did his washing. Job done.