Friday, December 18, 2009

Goodwill to all Peoplekind

I escape from the house in a hurry. Although generally I can find any excuse to avoid shopping, currently it’s a valid excuse for freedom. Now that Target provides groceries and prescription refills, I shall probably never need to shop anywhere else ever again. With luck on my side, I should be able to make a round trip in under an hour, long before Nonna awakens.

It’s a short list of necessaries, essentials, extras and maybe’s. I cast grumpiness aside, or is it fatigue – this must be the true definition of retail therapy; the chance to move about freely in a crowd, anonymous with a big cheesy grin plastered on my face. No questions, no demands, no repeats; it’s just like being in a spa:- a holiday for the mind.

I spend far too much money in far too short a time.

I step out towards the car, the final gallop to the finishing line. Always racing when I’m accosted by a large woman, with a loud voice and a bell – ‘spare some change for the missing children?’ I can feel a scowl cross my brow as I fight with the cart and it’s square wheel. Thwarted. Another interruption. I have no time to stand and stare, a white rabbit with a stop watch lashed to my ankle. My handbag is open in the baby seat shelf, my purse on the top, stuffed with receipts and lists, as I search for suitable lies:-

‘I’ve spent it all already,’ - but of course I used plastic.
‘I’ve already greased the palm of every Tom, Dick and Harry with an open hand this week,’ - but there’s always another one.
‘What do I care about missing children, the starving masses or the global warming?’ - but I can’t lie.
‘I’m too busy, too tired, too harassed to give a rat’s arse about anybody else for the moment,’ - would be the honest to goodness truth.

She is far too physically close, as she examines the contents of the cart – “I’ll take one of those milks instead if you like, or the bananas, a few of those rolls of bathroom tissue? Anything’l help.” I know my face is a sour pudding as I struggle with glasses, keys and life. What the heck. It’s only money. I’ve not had to slave for hours in an air-conditioned, soulless pod. I hand over the readies, into the black slot with the padlock and chain attached to the table leg – as if that’s a deterrent? “Thank you!” she beams with far too much enthusiasm than is warranted for such a bah humbug moment. “Give me some love with that,” she adds as I’m enfolded into her soft body with warm hands. I cannot remember when I was last hugged, properly, by an adult woman, let alone a stranger. I feel the surrender as I remember to breathe; it’s oddly comforting as I lay aside my English, ‘do not touch’ body language. “Now you sure have a Happy Holiday,” she insists as she releases me.
“I shall indeed, you too.”


Anonymous said...

Dear me.

- and when you got home you found that while hugging you she had picked your pocket!

Bound to happen if you go round trusting the human race.

Maddy said...

Eh gad!

Good point.

Fortunately I am a woman of elastic waistbands and no pockets.

Jazz said...

Wow, hugged by a stranger. Me I would've started balling like an infant.

And hell, reading anonymous' comment - I thought I was cynical....

I love Target though. I don't have it here, and I spend hours there when I go to the states.

I think you and I should do some retail therapy at Target. Yes indeed.

Whitenoise said...

Merry Christmas, Maddy. ;-)

amandaautismx2 said...

Wanting to let you know that I have changed my website address. It is now at Please continue to visit me here. Thank you!

Jenny said...

Hi. Just going through some old comments and thought I'd stop by to say howdy. Hope to see you again. :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Maddy,

Regina here, for

I would like to personally invite you to list your blog on our Expat Women Blog Directory ( so that other women can read about and learn from your expat experiences.

Many thanks in advance for your contribution and keep up your great blog!


Roxanne Morton said...

It seems that things are the same here (Australia) as over there, except Target doesn't do prescriptions here. Wish they would, then it would be a one-stop shop that I would love.

Good on ya for keeping it all together =)

hanna said...

Eh gad!

Good point.
Funny Pictures
Fortunately I am a woman of elastic waistbands and no pockets.