Clang Clink Clang Clink Clang…
I wince with every rattle of the shopping cart at first. The sound seems to reverberate off the storefronts announcing my presence. Could it possibly be any louder?
Clink Clang Clink CLA CLANG!!!
Okay, yes it can apparently, thanks giant sidewalk gap. If everyone wasn’t staring at me before they certainly are now.
Clink Clang Clink Clang Clink Clang…
No point continuing to wince, the clatter isn’t going to stop. I won’t act as though this is a walk of shame. It’s not like it’s my fault.
Clang Clink Clang…
Maybe someone will ask me what I’m doing walking down the main drag in the middle of this trendy neighbourhood with a giant box in a shopping cart.
“What’s the deal with the cart?” They’ll ask, making friendly conversation as we wait for the light to change.
“Well, funny story…” I’ll say, rolling my eyes as I retell the circumstances that led me to this point before the pedestrian signal beckons us onward.
But no one asks. No one says a word, and most either glare or make a very obvious effort not to notice.
Clink Clang Clink Clang CLINK CLANG CLINK CLANG…
I’m off the main road now, turning down a quiet residential street where the sound of my cart seems to be amplified even more by the stillness around me.
Finally I reach my destination, relieve my cart of its load and set off to complete what has become an accidental social experiment in my own neighbourhood, courtesy of Canada Post.
In Japan, postal workers will bend over backwards to get your packages to you at your convenience. In Canada, apparently the opposite is true. Canada Post delivered 6 of our 7 boxes – that we had paid good money to have shipped from Japan to our house in Canada – while my husband was home to receive them, but the 7th somehow did not make it.
When I phone to inquire about the missing box, they tell me to visit the post office in person. Thinking there may be a problem with the final box, I grab all my customs paperwork and set off. When I present myself at the post office counter in the drugstore, the staff person checks my ID then disappears. A few minutes later she emerges, struggling to maneuver the 25kg box onto the counter.
“It’s heavy,” she says, “be careful.”
“I don’t understand…” I reply, “You aren’t going to deliver it? I…don’t have a car or anything…”
“Nope. Can’t you get someone to help you?”
That’s what I paid you for, I think to myself as I set eyes on the only thing that will help me now: a shopping cart.
“I’m borrowing this,” I call to no one in particular as I set off on the 10-block-trek home.
I sigh as I return the shopping cart to its home, concluding my stint as a shopping cart girl.
“Have a nice day, miss,” calls a voice after me. A bearded older man clutching a paper cup of change gives me a toothy, sympathetic smile as I pass by him for the fourth time that hour. He likely witnessed the whole ordeal.
Glancing back, I return his smile, somewhat stunned, and walk home contemplating what all of this means.
I learned a lot about my neighbours today. And I learned that, if ever I’m in need of an empathetic word, there’s at least one person in this town I can count on.