I was completely wired by the time I got home, despite having had a ‘restorative’ glass of red wine with dinner. The place feels like it is generating electricity. All those lights and noises in the food hall slip into your head and bounce around in it like a pinball machine. And that’s before your senses are assaulted by the mad rushing commercialism and frenzied spending.
The shopping mall.
Not my favourite place. I avoid it like the plague. My knickers need to be falling down from lack of elastic and my shirts getting so holey they’re becoming indecent before I force myself to go clothes shopping. I had reached that stage last week, necessitating this trip to the – horror of all horrors – mall.
My first jaw-dropping experience was in the bathroom, a horrible enclosed space with no windows that had – wait for it – a fish tank on the wall. A narrow, fluorescent-lit, fish tank. With four little fish swimming around (or, at least, up and down, there was no space for swimming around) in it, in front of the fake water plant wallpaper, which was their backdrop. I wondered how many times they need to replace the fish after they jump out of the tank and into the toilet bowl in order to be flushed to freedom.***
Then again, on exiting said fish prison toilet, I felt a little like those fish and kept looking for an enormous toilet bowl to jump down myself. Oddly enough, there wasn’t one. Salesladies wafting perfume with stuck-on smiles scare me. I pushed through, and am pleased to report that I have new knickers, and new shirts, and a couple of other things my cupboard has been crying for, for months (possibly years).
It was all wrapped up well with dinner with a friend, hiding beyond the food court, from where I could see the sickle moon and wish on the first star in the beautiful inky-dusk-blue sky and the noise dissolved into good conversation.
The perfect ending to what, essentially, is not my idea of a perfect evening, came with the wisdom spewed by the parking pay machine. You just never know where the important messages will come from, or when, do you?
*** I have just sent an e-mail to the shopping mall’s management entitled ‘Fish in the toilet’ expressing my horror at the fish.