Yesterday evening I received a text from my niece asking me to take her to a walk- in clinic which is located in a Dominion Supermarket about a fifteen minute trip away. I went prepared to spend a couple of hours at least waiting for her to see the doctor and get a prescription filled. So it happened that I found myself sitting in the eating area of Dominion. There is a great view sitting there because you go up a large flight of steps to a spot that overlooks the entire store. Immediately below me was a display of potted plants that had been put out for Easter. There were hundreds of them and among them were numerous stuffed animals .It was a profusion of yellows,blues, purples, pinks and greens. And adjacent to the flowers were the displays of vegetables and fruits. I felt I was overlooking a market in France or Italy. All I needed was an accordion player or violinist playing Au Claire de la Lune or Santa Lucia and I could close my eyes and drift away.
As it was supper time I had purchased a bowl of barely passable chili and sat down to while away the time.
My current library book was in the car so there was nothing for me to do but watch people coming and going, entertainment in itself. A stylish young woman entered the produce department . I noticed her because she was dressed in a classic black jacket and short skirt. A leather bag hung neatly over her shoulder and her high heels clicked as she walked along the aisles of fruits and vegetables. Her blond hair was a contrast to the dark business like clothes and I suspect was a result of frequent visits to a salon. She meandered through the produce section without looking at any of the colourfully displayed items. I wondered if perhaps she was,like me, people watching. Her eyes were moving up and away from the displays . A popular notion is that the supermarket is an excellent place to meet single people . Perhaps that was her intent.
Her walk was proud and more typical of people you would see in a fancy high-class shopping centre not a supermarket.
As I looked I thought, Her face is familiar! And then it came to me. She had been a regular on CBC television several years ago. Perhaps she was used to people noticing her and that would explain her assured “presence”. Eventually, my interest waned.
An elderly gentleman came into view.
He looked to be in his late seventies. A fine looking man though he walked tentatively as though the stiffness of old age had settled in. He had a thick covering of grey hair on his head. He looked healthy , not underweight and skeletal as many older people are. This man obviously enjoyed food and had a perfect layer of padding to prove it. He came towards the steps that led to the eating area where I was. I noticed he was carrying a brief case.I supposed he could still be employed despite his advancing years. Since I didn’t want to stare I looked down at my chili and took an unappetizing mouthful. He passed by me and headed off down to an area where the restrooms were as well as some other unidentified rooms. I continued looking out over the kingdom of Dominion.
This time I looked upwards at the ceiling. Spotted a camera. Ahhhhh I thought. Maybe I am being photographed. How many are here, I wondered. This one was high in the rafters and pointed towards the entrance. I spotted another on the edge of the food court. Then another in the distance near the breads. That roused my curiosity about how many there were in all. I would have to take a stroll around and see.
But first the chili and another mouthful.
The elderly man was returning . A Dominion employee was with him. She indicated a table next to mine. He sat down. I looked up and gave a slight nod. I don’t know if he responded because I took another spoonful of chili. His chair faced towards me. I hoped I didn’t appear too nosy as I watched him take out some papers,scribble a few notes,speak three words on his cellphone and do what looked like a few pen and paper calculations. Income tax, maybe?I ate another spoonful of chili . Five minutes later up he got , felt his way down the stairs and left the building. So much for any further speculations about him.
It was time to check out the cameras. The chili was gone and I still had an hour to kill. May as well take a stroll.I was aware as I was looking for cameras , they were probably looking at me. I hoped I would not be taken for a crook scouting out the place. My glances toward the ceiling and along the walls would certainly mark me as peculiar. I tried to be as normal looking as I usually am.
There weren’t many visible cameras that I could see for such a huge store so I figured that some were in among the imitation fruits and vegetables that were stage settings for the department. Maybe they were hidden in a model wagon, boat or mannequin. In fact they could be in a can of imitation soup up on one of the top shelves. I was reminded of Orwell’s 1984 . We are never far from Big Brother are we? Of course who am I to talk? The stylish woman and the elderly man got far more scrutiny from me than from the cameras and they were just as unaware.