Saturday, 21 March 2015

With Wings or Without, That is the Question

**

Supermarket. Monday morning. Minding my own business. Purchasing ingredients to make two times bacon and egg pies for a school trip, when something sticky and wet sloshed onto my be-jandal-ed foot. I looked down at my freshly moistened iridescent orange toenails. Urghh. Wassat? Instantaneously I wiped my foot on the back of my opposite jeaned leg (I’d spilt coffee on myself in the car earlier, they were already SOILED).

Something pale pink and insipid looking was dripping from my trolley. Like a gloved, but un-gloved forensic expert I took a closer look. The bag of the Pam’s free range butterflied chicken size 14 on special $13.97 had split.

‘Your trolleys leaking,’ offered a helpful female shopper.

‘You need to find someone,’ offered another.

I thought of the poisonous chicken juice blood mixture spoiling my vegetables and tried and failed to isolate its dripping-ness with an old dried tissue from the bottom of my handbag. All women carry them.

Around the corner, I summoned a helpful young man in a black V-neck jumper restocking an impulse purchase full price display of salt and vinegar chips.

‘I have leakage problem,’ I announced, quite loudly.

His hair was darkish, shoulder length and limp.

The first helpful female shopper, pushing her snow haired son towards us, burst out laughing. Then she corrected me authoritatively. ‘Your TROLLEY has a LEAKAGE problem.’

Given my age I’m technically a peri-menopausal woman. This means I could be suffering forgetfulness and memory loss. I also became the proud owner of my first Mirena in 2007 and have not had a period since. Perhaps that is why, I had no idea for at least 15 seconds what the young mother was actually referring to.

When I clicked. I did not apologise. Because I was not embarrassed or perplexed by my supposed fem faux pas. It was my chicken that was leaking. Right there in nasty soupy baby pink pools on the highly polished white linoleum. Not me.

More importantly, I do not look upon the female race as a bunch of LEAKERS.

The man in the black V-neck removed the offending bird in an enormous clear plastic bag. And replaced it at my behest.

This isn’t the first avian run-in I’ve had at the supermarche. Though I’m glad this wet one wasn’t with the stout girl at the deli counter. Once, I’d asked her over the expansive glass frontage of cold cuts, ‘what’s in the chicken roll?’ Its sign read, “Honey Chicken Roll”. It looked boned. It was oblong. Probably full of flavours, preservatives. But which ones? Deli-girl looked at me as though I was a bit dim, or from Gore, flicked her bulbous stainless steel tongue pierce a couple of times and replied, ‘chucken.’

Anyway. Monday. Moving on, I hoped that my spillages were not going to come in threes. I walked quickly past the helpful shopper lady chatting to another mum, head down, busily consulting my list written on the back of an old envelope. Frozen pastry sheets. Two packets.

I thought about a line in a film I’d watched the night before. This awful male teacher, greeted a bunch of male music students, “Morning GIRLS”, by way of intense insult. That line still annoyed me. Girls are cool. And I’m flippin chuffed if I get called one. Just don’t call me mam. I’ll slap.

I guess some men may be equally incensed when their superior officer tells them to grow some balls, when faced with an arduous task like deactivating a large marsh full off landmines. Testicles are delicate unprotected objet. They are not strong. They hang about and get hurt easily. As Betty White, veteran US actress suggests, those blokes would be better off ‘growing a vagina’. They’re tough, resilient and bounce back. (Okay that was a bit crass, but you should have heard what Betty said). Testicles - Vagina. Arm wrestle vs Centurion Crossfit. Sort of.

What a world full of clich├ęd nonsense children have to grow up in. Small boys told to man-up when they’re worried about something. And the necessity of campaigns like run-like-a-girl to let little girls know it’s empowering and okay to be a girl and run like one.

Perhaps it’s because I’m cruising on out of my reproductively viable years that I’m not fixated on, ahem, leakages, as perhaps a young girl embarking a seemingly endless road-testing of sanitary products might. I recall my young sister lamenting over endless Libra adverts in a magazine once. ‘Do you use these when you get fluffies on your bum?’ she asked. Fraid so babes. Once a month, for about 35 years.

Some readers may still be wondering what a Mirena is when it’s at home? A Mirena is a hormone releasing IUD. It prevents pregnancy and stops monthly womb shedding. My local GP recommends them to any woman who has finished making babies and can no longer be bothered mucking about with PMT and plasma. If your iron levels are low these little darlings are partially funded by the NZ government.

On odd occasions, as I skip through the sanitary gismo aisle, I hope like hell us sheilas don’t get a new form of lady bits cancer ten years down the track, due to the slow release Levonorgestrel from our T-shaped intrauterine system, that last a freaky FIVE years. A piece. They are SO convenient. Admittedly, having them put in is a bit like having an extremely painful albeit, quick birth. In reverse.

On the up side I have not had a murderous spousal thought for at least eight years. I do have occasional bouts of crabbiness. Who doesn’t. Saint whatshername.

Just think of the savings I’ve made avoiding all those artfully packaged, individually wrapped designer cotton products, that offices full of graphic designers have slaved over.

With wings. Or without. I’m on another journey. 

**(Artwork by Saskia Leek, photo taken my moi Dunedin Art Gallery)
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