Lockdown Stories: The Spaghetti Incident

Dec 21, 2020Non-fiction, Travel, True Stories, Writing

The Netherlands has gone into another full lockdown in the past week because of a resurgence of the virus.

At first I was frustrated by this. For one thing it means going back to homeschooling my kids.

However, out of the dark depths of this situation, I found some brightness.

Surprisingly, this occurred in the supermarket.

Going to the supermarket is essentially the only moment in a day where I physically come into contact with other adults.

After months of doing this. it has kind of become the highlight of my day. Although, yesterday was extra special.


I walked the aisles collecting the usual basic items and then decided to pick up a packet of spaghetti. You never know what will happen with lockdown rules, so pasta will always come in handy if a moment comes where you can’t go out at all.

I proceeded to continue through the supermarket. Not particularly busy with purchasing more items, but revelling in the atmosphere of being out of the house. Then another customer stopped me.

A Surprise

 ‘Excuse me, sir,’ she said. ‘You are leaking spaghetti.’

 I glanced in my basket and retrieved the offending packet of pasta. To my surprise, there were only about five strands left in it.

 ‘Oh!’ I said, and thanked the woman. Her eyes flashed above her surgical mask, indicating that she was smiling.

 I peered down the aisle.

My eyes widened. 


Lockdown Spaghetti

A meandering trail of single strands of spaghetti ran along the entire aisle.

I could see where I had stopped to look at an item—there were conspicuously large piles of spaghetti in certain places.

I could also see where I had doubled back to recheck something.

Affirmative Action

I decided to get a new packet of spaghetti and moved over to the next aisle where the pasta was to be found.

The trail continued there.

I turned on the spot and, to my horror, saw that I had covered an incredible amount of ground. There were trails of spaghetti running everywhere.

It was like a nightmare.

How was it possible that the contents of such a small package could spread so far?

And why had I been wandering aimlessly through the entire supermarket?

Writer’s procrastination taken to a new level?


Lockdown Spaghetti

At that moment one of the supermarket staff—a teenager—rounded the corner at the far end of the pasta aisle. She stopped in her tracks, staring at the floor with her mouth agape.

Her thoughts were clear. What the hell?

Her face was only possible to read because she was wearing her surgical mask on her chin.

It seems to be a new teenage fashion trend to wear your mask this way. Have you noticed this too?

I thought I was cornered. This was not to be.

Confused, she turned on her heel and exited the aisle. I can only assume she went off to find someone higher up the corporate ladder who could explain this strange phenomenon.

I quickly grabbed a new packet of spaghetti and headed for the exit.

Although slightly embarrassed, I had to stifle laughter until I’d left the shop. The incident made my day.

I decided that, even with all the inconveniences of the lockdown, being incognito behind a face mask has distinct advantages.

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