I’m walking into the direction of the sun, this giant star is burning into my eyes, disintegrating what pieces of my brain are left. My head is pounding, I feel like I’ve taken a beating – I can’t help shaking. I feel nauseous everytime I come close to human contact. I just want to curl up into a ball and – Wait a second, how can I be feeling like this? I only had a mere three beers last night… Well because this isn’t your average alcohol induced hangover, these feelings of regret, tiredness, and general contempt come from these annual hunger games style trails we Brits volunteer as tribute for every damn year: Christmas Shopping!
Every time December rolls around, you always get those smug people who are all “Look at me, I did all my shopping online,” or “Look at me, I finished my shopping weeks ago!” God those people annoy me, yet every December I think “Christ I wish I’d thought of that.”
Walking into town, I walked in the direction of the sun. Whilst most would denote walking into the sun as something positive or uplifting, in this scenario I think walking towards a giant ball of fire, that would kill you if you went to close, a fitting metaphor for what awaits me in the town centre on a Sunday afternoon. The arena for my 25th Annual Festive Hunger Games is Fareham Town Centre, which isn’t saying much. It’s not like this is London, hell it’s not even a Portsmouth or Southampton, but that doesn’t sop it from being near Bedlam. I thought coming on a Sunday would be somewhat quiet, how wrong I was. With Sunday trading laws meaning the place closes at an earlier time, people seem to treat this as a countdown to an overly cartoonish bomb going off, with people dashing to outrun the fuse before we get blown to Timbuktu.
I never know what attire to venture out in when it comes to Christmas shopping. I mean, it’s winter so the natural option would be a coat/scarf/gloves combo in order to walk through the winter blunderland that is your home (because no sane person would dare drive and back in a town centre at this sort of time). However, once inside the shopping centre you’re crammed together like chickens in a battery farm, and suddenly you find yourself sweating out of every orifice like a pig roasting under the Ibiza sun. I don’t know how to dress myself!!!!
Although one piece of attire I have perfectly chosen for this expedition is my pair of overly large headphones, obnoxiously shattering my ear drums. Not only do these wonderful things block out the incessant noise of children screaming, or adults arguing, but it also acts as a blatant sign to all shop assistants, indicating that I do not wish to be hounded by them whilst browsing. Although God help anyone that dares wish to browse in shops during the run up to Christmas. I often don’t go into Christmas shopping with a list of who’s naughty or nice. I like to browse and hope that inspiration hits, or the perfect item leaps out of the shelf and into my bag (after I’ve paid for it of course). This is how normal people shop, they go into a store, they browse, and hopefully by the end of it they find something they can buy. But my God, I can’t look at a shelf for more than five seconds before being swept away by an onslaught of impatient customers, huffing and sighing to a tornadoes degree at me! How selfish of me to think I can stop and look at something in a shop? Really, how dare I! Literally, the instance you show even a hint of your body pausing, your legs buckle from the force of an oncoming freight pram, and you are whacked over the head by some middle-aged woman wielding a box of Christmas Truffles, fighting her way to get that precious copy of Phil Collins’ autobiography.
Once you pick yourself up off the floor and dust off the yuletide embarrassment, you shuffle towards the section of the shop you wish to explore first when – Oh great, there’s someone there already, somehow managing to take up the whole shelf. I can’t ask him to move, because they’ve got a pair of those overly large headphones, obnoxiously blaring out their incessant music. Eugh… Fine, I’ll go look at something…else – Hang on a minute, they’ve moved the shop around. I swear celebrity autobiographies used to be here, but now I’m staring at books on Bird watching; The complete guide to Birdwatching, A Birdwatchers Companion, Owls of the World. Where am I? I’m lost in this paperback maze. I’m lost – I know I’ll ask a member of staff for- I can’t find them. What? Now they’re nowhere to be found. What, has hunting season finished for the day? I need an adult!
OK, I’m back to where I wanted to be in the first place and… and they’re still there – The same person is stood slap bang in front of the shelf I need to look through. I can’t ask him to move because of his clown sized headphones blocking out any polite interjection of “Pardon me sir, would you mind… I said pardon me but would you-“ Nothing, it’s like talking to a brick wall. What the hell is he doing. For God’s sake will you JUST MOVE! UNCLAMP THOSE HEADPHONES, TURN DOWN THAT RACKET AND MOVE OUT THE WAY! THIS IS CHRISTMAS, THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR BROWSING YOU INSUFFERABLE AR-
I’m part of the problem.
I think I’ll stick to online shopping next Christmas.