It started, as most things do, with cheese.
I'd run out. This is one of those circle of life type things; you put cheese in sandwich, you eat sandwich, repeat until you run out of cheese/bread/butter/vegemite. My lunches are not complicated things, but I do like a little bit more than just a spread. (Unless it's toast, in which case a wad of peanut butter is just fine.)
So I went to the supermarket, as one does, and I went to the dairy aisle, as one does, and I stood in front of the cheese, as one does, and spent the next twelve minutes struck dumb with indecision.
A wall of cheese, from floor to ceiling. Cheese in different brands, of different types, reduced fat or full, sliced or not. So much cheese, so many cheese, and too much choice.
When the shelf-stacker gave me a funny look on passing me for the third time, I realised what I was doing, grabbed without looking, and walked away.
That is what stress can do, that is what depression can do, that is what not having all your mental resources operating at normal capacity can do. The ability to process and compare information is significantly reduced, and the capacity to commit to a decision is practically nil. That is how cheese can steal twelve minutes of your life.
At the check out, bewildered as I was having passed by soup (Do I need soup? I don't know!) and tea (What about some nice tea? I don't know!) and chocolate-covered honeycomb (Should I get a treat? I DON'T KNOW!), I figured there must be a niche in this anxiety-driven and consumer-based society for a supermarket that caters to the perpetually overwhelmed. A supermarket that stocks milk in milk cartons that say milk and with no options on offer, cheese in a packet labeled cheese and no options on offer, museli in a bag labeled museli and no options on offer.
This is a supermarket I would really appreciate right now. A place at which I will be able to find the basic necessities to feed myself without being confronted with choices.
You could even have levels of the Stressed Supermarket, for those who may be coping a little better but still not ready for a wall of cheese; full cream and skinny milk and only those two to choose from, jarlsberg or chedder cheese and only those two to choose from, swiss museli or natural museli and only those two to choose from. Baby steps. We have to work our way up through the ranks, get practice at processing and streamlining information until we are prepared, at last, to face a wall of cheese, and make a selection in a mere moment.
And not be stricken with indecision.
And not feel weak for the time wasted.