HELP! It’s that time of year when the world goes shopping mad.
Sadly, in order to receive presents myself, I must shop for others, including my children who demand more than a gift voucher. As I moan daily they advise me to, ‘make a list’. This is a most unhelpful piece of advice; given the fact I hate lists. On occasions, however, I have no choice but to write one, usually when I’m desperate, which roughly translates to once a year, at Christmas.
It doesn’t always mean all goes well though. Take last Christmas for example. It was coming ever closer to the big day and I was greatly enjoying the atmosphere with decorations, fires by night and scented cinnamon candles, while actively avoiding all shops or talk of presents. Yet thoughts of shopping were seeping into my subconscious, turkey...stuffing...presents...wrapping paper. The clock was ticking and I couldn’t ignore it forever.
After several sleepless nights, fretting over all the things I didn’t do the previous day, I awoke one morning with a renewed resolve to get myself in gear. Cup of tea in hand I began my, ‘things I should do today’ list. Unfortunately, once I’d it written, a wave of peace washed over me. Done. Delighted with myself I hung it up in the kitchen for days, nodding and smiling at it when it caught my eye, but never actually doing anything.
However, it would seem as if December ticks by faster than any other month and unfortunately I could no longer ignore my near faded list.
Growling one morning, I packed my list and credit card into my back pocket and braved the crowds, many of whom I suspect also write lists and ignore them until the last minute!
The joy of Christmas means endless queues, car parks full to bursting and the fear as you hand over your credit card that the machine will spit it out laughing. Determined to get everything in one go, I queued endlessly, buying all on my list, plus a large number of items definitely not on it. With my trolley filled to overflowing, I heard myself humming: ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’.
Packing Christmas into a car takes effort. By the time I was finished, a mortgage in plastic bags filled the boot, back seat and floor. Pausing to congratulate myself the distant sound of my phone ringing from beneath the shopping disturbed me.
“I’m finished” I announced to my friend, dazzling passers-by with my smile. As we continued to chat I gazed in admiration at my many purchases before something caught my eye. A DVD lay on the floor. It wasn’t one I’d recently purchased. As my buddy gossiped on I looked around, noting this car I sat in was spotless... A holy medal hung over the mirror... an unfamiliar scarf lay on the passenger seat.
“Oh no!” I whined, in a pitch so high only neighbouring dogs heard, “I’m in the wrong car!”
“What?” said my friend.
“Me... and all my shopping...we’re in someone else’s car! It’s the same model as mine and also unlocked.”
With lightning speed, I hung up, unpacked Christmas and repacked it into my own less spotless car, which was a mere two spaces away. Driving home, I made a decision not to share my unfortunate tale with anyone.
“Did you get everything on the list?” chorused my gang as I arrived home.
“I did indeed” I said. “And to celebrate I bought us all cake. Will one of you bring it in, it’s on the front seat?” Moments later my daughter returned.
“Where did you say it was?”
I froze, clearly remembering placing it with care on the front seat of the car... the other car!
So whoever you are, wherever you are, you’re welcome.
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