I am not your typical woman. I don’t enjoy shopping for things like clothes, and make-up and cushions for my couch. Unless we are talking about a bookstore, I don’t just ‘browse’. I go shopping when I have something specific to purchase. And then I go, I seek, I find, I buy and I leave. Done. Boom.
Over the years, I have told my girlfriends about this unfeminine side of my personality but they either think I am joking or they only think they understand.
But they really don’t understand.
A friend of mine finally ‘got’ it one time when we were both at a conference in Montreal. Our hotel was lost way outside the city in a sea of businesses and industrial complexes. There was also a mall, just across the street. I had stayed at this particular hotel many times but had never even considered visiting the mall before this, which was enormous (just to qualify: there was no English bookstore). The first night we arrived, the conference-goers all had a bit of time to kill. I mentioned that I needed a new purse (the one I had; the only one I had; was falling apart and becoming embarrassing to carry around). My friend, who adored shopping, quickly offered to join me. “Sure,” I shrugged, “But… this won’t take long: I just need a new purse.”
She gave me a knowing nod (which I didn’t understand at the time) and the two of us were soon on our way. Within minutes we were walking through the door of the mall and directly into the first big, high-end department store. I am very good at finding what I want when I have to go shopping. Like a highly-alert bird of prey, I stop, I scan the aisles for as far as I can see, I spot the department signs near the ceiling which indicate at least the direction of the department I am looking for. And then, I go, I seek, I find, I buy and I leave.
This time was no different: it took me no time at all to find the section with the purses. I quickly scanned them for colour preference, cost and most important: practicality (in my world, pretty is always secondary to sensible). Within minutes, I had my desired purchase in my hands and was looking around for the nearest cashier.
My friend was crestfallen. “But,” she stammered, “All you looked at were the purses! You can’t be ready to leave already!?”
“Well I found what I was looking for,” I pointed out, still quite pleased at how quickly the ordeal had been successfully terminated.
She stood, stricken and rooted to the spot. She looked like a little girl who had just had a treasured toy stolen. “You really DON’T like shopping!” she exclaimed, in a tone that left no doubt I was the first female she had ever encountered who suffered this particular malady.
I wish I could tell you that I took pity on her and spent the rest of the evening at her side as she shopped her little heart out. But my memory, after finding the purse I wanted, is curiously blank.
Patti Moore Wilson/ © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com