I was in the baked bean aisle of our local supermarket trying to decide on organic, non organic or Snap pots when I sensed somebody standing slightly too close to me.
I turned to look. It was a rather diminutive woman, her dark hair scraped back into a ponytail, close to my side, her brown eyes looking up at me, a determined and serious expression on her face. I made a weak attempt at a smile.
“Can I help you?” I asked softly, as if I’d suddenly turned into one of Tesco’s finest employees.
“You are Rural Spaceman,” she stated, simply.
I physically jumped.
I was sure I didn’t know this woman, but if you’ve read any of my earlier rubbish, you’ll realise I’m often engaged in conversation with people I can’t remember meeting. She pulled her black cardigan tightly around herself and waited for my response.
“Well, yes, I suppose I am,” I said, trying to sound modest and flattered all at once, which somehow combined in a strange chemical reaction to produce smugness. The small lady turned and beckoned to another female studying the kidney beans a bit further along the aisle, a similar colouring and size to my new found ‘fan’.
“Veronica! Look! It is him! The Rural Spaceman! He writes on the internet!” she explained in her thick Spanish accent (Eeenternet!) her voice deep and thick.
Her friend clip clopped over in her high heels, her large hoop ear rings reflecting the light as they moved, contrasted by her thick black hair. Both of them stood and stared at me, as if I’d joined the beans on the shelf. There was a brief silence.
“Who this man, Daniela?”
“The Rural Spaceman. He writes on the internet,” Daniela repeated.
Daniela produced her mobile phone, tapped for several seconds and then thrust it in her friend’s face.
“Here!” she cried, before shoving the phone screen in front of my eyes. My image looked out, standing with Danny Baker and Lady Barton St Mary at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.
“What does he write about?” Veronica asked, not averting her eyes from me. I decided I should answer her question.
“Well I write about … erm, well it’s about lots of things,” I started to explain, before Daniela interrupted me.
“I am from Venezuela. Your blog is…” Daniela searched for an appropriate word,
“amusing. Some I don’t understand,” she explained, “but it tells me lots about English people.”
Heck, if this poor woman thought my blog would help her understand English people, I’d better get away now, I thought.
“Well, thank you,” I managed, as the two ladies continued to look at me, unsmiling.
“I am Veronica,” said Veronica, unnecessarily, “I go from Ecuador. I too will be looking Rural Spaceman now.”
My mind was spinning – recognised for my writing at last! I considered what was the best course of action – would they want separate photo with me? A group selfie? I knew I had a pen in my jacket pocket if they wanted me to sign something.
As I mentally rehearsed these actions in my head, Veronica and Daniela turned on their clip clop heels and marched away, wire baskets clasped closely to their side.
My moment of fame was over. I just wonder whether either of them will comment on this blog…