I NEVER thought I’d see the day when I looked forward to shopping in a supermarket. Loaf-squeezing, (a popular pastime in Kilmacolm where I used to live) the heady excitement of arriving just when the soda scones are marked down, the elation which emerges when whizzing through the self-service machines is all very thrilling. But not for me.

Until now. Like the other 900,000 Scots who live alone, the supermarket is pretty much the only point of human contact these days.

House arrest, or lockdown if you prefer, means the visit to the local Tesco, Sainsbury’s or, when I’m feeling profligate with cash, Waitrose, is not only the highlight, it’s the new theatre.

Today’s performance begins at the well-spaced queue outside Tesco Metro in Glasgow’s Byres Road. Across the street at the Boots queue a couple are wearing matching masks and holding hands, to underline the fact they live together. Cute. A bloke waiting to get into Waitrose is wearing shorts. It’s two degrees. He is clearly insane.

A known face walks past. It’s that of wildlife filmmaker Gordon Buchanan, who offers a friendly wave and a hello. Which is more than Still Game’s Sanjeev Kohli did as he walked past my front gate just half an hour before. Did he think I’d want to hug him? The Still Game actor was also wearing shorts. Perhaps the stint indoors has affected his brain too.

I’m now at the front of the queue, waiting for the security guard to allow entry to the auditorium – which serves to heighten expectations. And inside there’s an immediate moment of conflict. Do I use the giant jug of sanitiser and kitchen towel to wipe hands or scrub basket handles with the vim TV’s Aggie revealed on germ-blasted cludgies? I opt for wearing an emboldened smile and stride right past, figuring this public hand scrubbing is all too Lady Macbeth.

Inside, the space seems eery and cold, like watching a Strindberg play on a Tuesday night in Mull. Where are the hordes of students buying up Pot Noodles, six packs of cheap Polish beer and giant French bread sticks?

I’m now in a little panic. I can’t find any pasta. Porridge. Or jars of garlic. Or tins of tomatoes. I try different aisles and as I do I almost bump into an attractive blonde three times. It could almost be a meet-cute from a Neil Simon play. She smiles, no doubt in sympathy.

I pick up a packet of antiseptic wipes and a carton of milk and elect to pay via the human assistant, separated from me by a two-foot strip of fresh flowers, like colourful, fragrant barbed wire.

The checkout woman smiles. But there’s a Pinter-esque drama playing out in my head, because I’m thinking that she’s thinking: “This half-wit is risking my life for a jug of milk for his Cocoa Pops and a packet of tissues.”

I want to reply to the thoughts I’m assuming she’s just had, to explain it’s because some shelves resemble Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. But I don’t because her job is tough enough.

A friend told me her supermarket story of the week. In Sainsbury’s in Hyndland a middle-aged female shopper had a big scarf round her face which she removed in order to sneeze into her paper hankie, next to the checkout woman. Wow. But to compound the terror the sneezer then tossed her tissue on the floor.

The assistant was horrified, but politely asked the sneezer if she’d mind picking up the tissue. The sneezer refused. (My female friend at this point wanted to ram a packet of Handy Andy’s down the woman’s throat.)

But the assistant, revealing the wisdom, command and common sense of Portia, politely insisted the selfish imbecile pick up the tissue. Which she did, but rather than pocket it for subsequent disposal threw it into the assistant’s waste paper bin – depositing her potentially lethal germs once more.

My friend praised the checkout assistant and told her she was doing a magnificent job. Other shoppers heard this who beamed mass gratitude. It was Sainsbury’s equivalent of a standing ovation. Meanwhile the villain exited Stage Left in a huff.

Today, the satirical website The Daily Mash featured a joke about a Lidl employee who keeps a photo in his pocket of “the sweetheart he will marry when this madness is over.”

The wartime reference is funny because like all good gags it’s laced with truth. The truth is selfless, tough, supermarket workers are keeping us fed, despite the risks. And their life at the moment is pure theatre, being played out by all forms of human behaviour.