I have, generally speaking, always lived within a three-minute shuffle of a well-stocked convenience store. And by well-stocked I mean a place that can supply me with all my major needs: toilet paper, fizzy water, rice, juice, soy milk, and since moving to the UK, booze. This has never been a plan, as such, just a fact of living in the centre of large towns, or in the case of Falmouth, Cornwall, the end of the high street in a really tiny town. It’s all happened by chance and thank goodness for that.
Because The Mom is correct in asserting that forward planning is totally not my strong suit. She despairs of my inability to live in a well-stocked home and considers this to be a failing on my part and my part alone. It is, to some degree, but living in the UK means there is a premium put on space. It’s the same in Toronto, but where she lives, in a big house with multiple freezers and storage areas (albeit all currently housing kale or other important hippie related supplies) it’s much easier to ensure one is prepared for any and all eventualities.
But when one shares a flat, especially in London, one gets a bedroom, a cupboard in the kitchen, and a few inches of space in what in Canada would be called a beer fridge. So you know, not a lot of space to put that chicken soup stock.
Here’s what I don’t understand. If you save that chicken stock for the time when you’re ill, what do you do when you just want to eat soup? I mean, if you’re not unwell and just hungry? And when, exactly, is it appropriate to use up one’s emergency supplies? What qualifies as an emergency? Because running out of things sort of happens on a day-to-day basis in my world.
The next flat in Bristol is at least a ten minute walk to the nearest shop. And even then, I’m not sure what kind of hours said shop will keep. In London it’s easy enough to get what you want pretty much whenever. If my nearest little shop is shut, the one literally at the end of the road is open, and all I have to do is walk three minutes up the other end of the road and there’s a larger, better stocked shop with longer hours. True, I do have to walk ten minutes if I want something that’s open 24/7 but it sure beats not having that on hand. I mean, there are sometimes moments when one needs cranberry juice, bread and soy milk at 3am. That is something that happens. The Mom insists this happens because I don’t have the foresight to plan ahead. Which I suppose is true, but when you live in the centre of a massive city like London, it’s set up to ensure that you don’t need to plan ahead. Which is one of the things I like about it. It’s geared towards people like me and quite frankly if The Mom lived in a place where whatever she wanted – wine, popcorn, dogfood – could be had anytime, she too would see the value in this.
But she makes a good point. Without flatmates, and knowing absolutely zero people in Bristol I am going to have to get my shit together. Thankfully, the friends who are moving me are one step ahead of me, as usual. They’re already packing me a ‘for guests’ bag with extra bedding, an air mattress, towels, and all that I might need. I suppose it’s up to me then to ensure the rest of the flat is well-stocked.
Oh, and about the whole rushing out half-dressed to buy something thing. This is not an issue. I have a series of large coats that I can throw on over whatever I happen to be wearing. I mean, if I’m unwell, or look more harried than usual, the clerks at whatever shops I’ll start frequenting won’t care what I’m wearing.