Blinded by Summer & Sidelines
Summer. Scorched days and hot muggy sleepless nights. You know the kind. You toss and turn; the bed is either too hot or too cold. The air is heavy. You’re too restless to read. The television shows re-runs you’ve seen. Frustration mounts as tiredness mauls every thought but sleep refuses to come.
August has been one long sleepless night.
The agony began in July when I took up working in a clothes shop. In my humble opinion shopping has to be one of the most pointless activities in the world. Granted people need clothes and in order to get them they must shop. But I’ve never understood the appeal of spending hours roaming large crowded wardrobes that stink of stolen ideas and fake ideals.
The fact is people, strike that, women love to shop. And it’s hilarious to watch. The girls come in. They touch, compare, try on and marvel. They grab, question, hustle and demand. Common decency goes out the window. Clothes shops are to women what strip clubs are to men. Home turf. They know what they like and when they see it, they have to have it. Their immediate gratification depends on it.
The men who come into the shop are the cutest. They come in with their wives or girlfriends or they come in with a friend to buy a present for a girlfriend. They are always polite, extra polite due to discomfort or boredom. But at the key moment the credit card appears and with little more than a swipe they make some dame happy. Visa romance.
A woman with kids is the toughest customer. Mothers are like seasoned betters at the race-track. They shop for the throng. They can spot a deal a mile away and when they do, bang! the trap goes up and they’re off. Their negotiation skills would put a Wall Street trader to the test.
I don’t blame them. Money is tight. Everyone wants a bargain. I’d be more sympathetic if I didn’t hate shopping. I’d rather wear my younger sister’s hand me ups. My clothes are acquisitions rather than purchases. Some found, others gifts, some are borrowed items never returned, many are impulse buys. I do my bit to be different, but I’m pretty low maintenance. Don’t we all end up looking the same anyway? The only real differences are moods and personalities. Better to enhance those.
August has been a month of robust mood enhancers.
Back to July. I came up with the deadly idea to clean up my act, cut out the vices and take on a new perspective. Since then things have pretty much nose-dived (which incidentally is why new year’s resolutions are so fucking useless).
It began with a random rendez-vous. A boy – let’s call him Spider – caught my attention. Now Spider has a penchant for powder and while I’ve always been able to take it or leave it, if it’s around I might indulge. I’ve known Spider for years but it wasn’t until he went to the trouble of delivering flowers to the shop that I stood up and took note. Yes, there was a love letter with the flowers. Tres romantique.
We had a few dates. All late at night. He cooked for me. We sat on his roof terrace overlooking the Med; the stars above lighting the view of the north African coastline, crickets humming in the background. He played me songs on his guitar and gave me a copy of Tarantula. By dawn we were naked. It was almost perfect except for the fact that his house is darker than a Al-Qaeda hideout and the persistent presence of Bolivia’s finest.
Fact is I’m no Kate Moss. A girl can only handle a few nights of – how should I say – Debbie Does Columbia before the dark circles start to show. Plus I have zero interest in having a – I hate the term – fuck buddy. If I am going to go the effort of getting cosy with one person on a regular basis, it’s because I like them and that defeats the whole purpose of the fuck buddy game. So somewhere in between the lines I crawled out of the cave. It would appear that just like my clothes my men are random, found objects and borrowed items that really should be returned to their rightful owner.
The real bugbear is that while all this shop lark and rendez-vouing is going on, there is very little writing being done; hence the drop in blogs. But yesterday three crucial things happened. Number one the heat broke. Finally fresh air. Number two it was my last day at the shop. No more folding clothes and forced smiles. Number three I got stood up. Is there anything worse than being stood up by someone you’re not even into? In a word, no. On the up side, at least no one’s feelings get hurt.
It’s been a long summer.
I feel like I’ve just spent a month under water. I can see what’s going on on dry land but I can’t quite touch it. That’s generally the feeling when we choose a path that’s far away from where we really want to go. Now that the madness is almost over, I’m coming up for air and looking forward to once again feeling the sand between my toes.