Would you believe of all the places to find love, I met my wife in the supermarket? Love in the aisles of SupaValu, I hardly believe it myself. And it wasn’t any of this ‘what does she have in the basket/shopping for one’ nonsense. I saw her, she saw me, we chatted, went for coffee and the rest is history.
We didn’t strictly meet for the first time ever that day. In my early days as a hospital doctor, before I became a GP and started my own practice, Anne was a nursing student on a ward where I spent six months. Back then we were both twenty something and she was a cracker. Since then I’ve stumbled through two marriages, added a few stone to my middle and lost much of my hair. Anne looks just like she did the day she marched up to me and declared I had to write more clearly on a drug chart or I might kill my patients. Ok so add a couple of greys and maybe laughter lines but that’s it.
Back then I fancied her but was indignant a nurse, much less a student nurse, would speak to a doctor like that, so I did nothing about it. I dated a few other nurses and did my best to ignore her as a punishment, but she seemed to take it in her stride and didn’t even notice. I made an effort to write more legibly though and it was a good life lesson I think. In my following job the consultant bawled out a fellow junior for bad handwriting as I sent a silent thanks to the student nurse whose name I had already forgotten.
Now that I run my own practice I get to choose my hours and I was spending my morning off shopping. I’d been watching a car shunt outside the store and wondering if I should go and see if anyone needed help. Maybe there would be a shout of “Is anyone here a doctor?” and I could dash to the rescue. But the drivers were both out of their cars and discussing fault, so I thought there wasn’t much danger to life or limb and carried on looking for my favourite coffee. My ex-wife insisted we drink own brand coffee and sometimes even instant. Instant is fine for emergencies but at dinner parties? It’s not as though we were short of money and I don’t drink, smoke, play golf. I could go on but we had the argument so often I even bore myself with it.
And who should I see choosing proper coffee as well but that sparky nurse from 1987. Turns out I prefer Lavazza and she prefers Illy. I think we both recognized each other right off but she spoke first. “Morning doctor,” she said, “Illy’s much better than Lavazza. You should try it.” We caught up over a nasty cup of supermarket café coffee sitting amongst the rubbernecking masses. I was trying to woo my future wife and they all wanted to see if there was any blood yet.
The following few months were difficult as Anne worked out an arrangement over the house and the pensions with Gerry, her husband. By chance I had just missed him that day in SupaValu and the row that led to them separating began in the car park. Last we heard, after he bought Anne out of the family home, he brought his mother to live with him. The children rarely visit him, so I understand. They find Granny’s constant put-downs of their mother very off-putting. They stay with us often, though.
As well as a perfect life partner I’ve found myself an excellent practice nurse too. Anne took on a few days with us at first and now works three or four days a week. My patients love her almost as much as I do, so they tell me. I doubt that is even possible but she does have a beguiling way with a hypodermic needle.
And we settled the coffee issue by trying Illy at work with Lavazza at home, then swapping them round, but in the end we mix a pack of each together to get the best of them both wherever we are.