Not So Far From the Madding Crowd

It’s One of Those Weeks, folks, and by "One of Those Weeks" I mean, "Oh my good God, is it not the weekend already? And also: where is the wine?"

Even although it’s turned out to be a pretty crappy week, though, it did start off reasonably well, in that I I got to go shopping at the weekend. I love me some shopping. The problem with that, though? Well, there were a few problem with that. Allow me to list them for you:

1. I went specifically to buy a new winter coat
2. I did not get a new winter coat
3. OMG, how will I keep warm this winter?!
4. Oh. With the *ahem * thermal vest I bought.
5. Shut up.
6. You know you’d buy a thermal vest too if you lived in Scotland.
7. No, you really would.
8. Where was I?
9. Oh, yeah. I didn’t buy a winter coat, but I did buy a whole bunch of other stuff.
10. That I didn’t really need because, hello! Winter coat, anyone?
11. Why am I writing like this, all listy? I should stop that now…

The main thing that troubled me about my shopping trip – that troubles me about every shopping trip, basically – was all the other people that were there at the same time as me. God, I hate other people. "Hell is other people," said Jean-Paul Sartre, and all I can say is that ole J-P must have shopped in the same places as me because yes, it really was hell.

They were everywhere, the Other People: whole crowds of them, all doing that Slow-Walk-of-the-Shopping-Mall thing where they spread themselves across the entire aisle and then walk reeaaallllly, reeeaaaalllly slowly, stopping randomly to look at things and totally disregarding the fact that THERE WERE PEOPLE BEHIND THEM WHO NEEDED A WINTER COAT, DAMMIT. Most of them had those massive strollers that you can fit five babies in at once with them. Most of those babies were screaming. So was I at some points, I think: it was hard to tell over all the noise.

No matter where I went, the crowds of people would follow. It was a bit like being a famous person, except without all the money and, well, fame. In the first store I went into, the fitting rooms seemed to be closed (WHY?) but I was only trying on coats, after all, and, OK, some sweaters, so I took my haul to the emptiest, most obscure corner I could find, far from the madding crowds and close to a mirror. Except it wasn’t far from the madding crowds at all, was it, because the freaking madding crowds CAME WITH ME. Everywhere I went, in every nook and/or cranny I found for myself, the Madding Crowds would all appear as if from thin air and squeeze themselves in next to me. Then they would blatantly watch me get changed. GOD.

Finally, in my desperation to just get the hell out of Dodge, I grabbed things more or less at random and paid for them, and that’s how I came to have two new sweaters that are all but identical, and no winter coat.

How was your weekend?

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books by Amber Eve
  • Oh yes…others. I hate them. I hate others. I don't know when I came to hate others but I really dislike them. I think it came with my move to California where there is just no getting away from others ever.

    Can you return one of the identical sweaters? And uhm, I don't own a winter coat. We haven't a need for one really in coastal California. We can get by with lightweight jackets. Thank goodness because I don't like the feeling of wearing wool or other heavy clothing.

    October 2, 2007
  • Weekend was fine, thanks. Had the 'shopping for warm enough jackety coaty thingy' experience recently, too (Norway also belongs in the 'friggin' cold' category). Rain + other people + shopping in the rainy, other-people-filled streets of Oslo = mighty splendidious. Also, a nightmare. But at least I found me a jacket (and, uhm, a skirt I couldn't afford. And four little tops that were on sale. Only, not exactly on sale, as such).

    We should all have listened to JP the first time around, I reckon.

    Oh, and an almost-stranger I take courses with gave me a Nietzsche audiobook as a present, for no apparent reason. Not sure what to make of that. So yeah, weekend? Fabulous!

    October 2, 2007
  • Weekend: watched Glastonbury and Knocked Up on dvd. Spent money I do not have on pretty things online. Thought, 'Where the hell did the weekend go?'

    October 2, 2007
  • My weekend was not nearly as eventful as yours.

    This is the reason why I try never to shop on weekends. Because I hate people too. And the stupid ones are drawn to me.

    October 3, 2007
  • Gemma


    I'm glad I'm not the only one who hates people. Cos others tend to look at me as if I'm ever so slightly intolerant when I mention it. Edinburgh is the worst for people, especially during any touristy season when it becomes ok to wander vaguely and stop on the pavement for no apparent reason!

    In other news, I was found out at the weekend for having bought my winter coat from the kids section at New Look. Most embarrassing. But hey – it fits, it looks good and more importantly, it was cheap!

    October 3, 2007
  • Anne-Marie


    I often think that a cattle prod would come in really handy when faced with the hordes of really slow walkers (more like amblers really but why? oh why would you want to amble along Oxford St?), especially when they stop slap bang in front of you to have a chat wih their mate. Grrr. One of the perks of being a celebrity must be when they open shops especially for you…….

    October 3, 2007
  • Do you know, Anne-Marie, that's exactly what I always say when trying to shop. I wish I was famous enough to DEMAND they close the shop to all the 'other people' who seem somehow able to rip the joy from any shopping experience.

    Also, when I'm mayor-of-the-world, I'm making it illegal for anyone who doesn't work in the city centre (any city centre, that is) to be IN said city centre between the hours of 11am and 2pm. Because whenever I have 30 mins to get to the post office, do my weekly shop, nip to the bank AND get my lunch there miraculously appear in front of me at least 4 women with buggies, 7 little old ladies with those tartan pull-along shopping trolleys and inordinate numbers of students who apparently believe they OWN M&S (how can they afford M&S?! They're students!).

    Please, tell them I hae them!

    October 3, 2007
  • Gemma – I shop in the kids' section all the time. Age 12 seems to work fine, and also: is tax free!

    Caroline – You know, I've always wondered about the studets in Marks and Spencer thing. When I was a student it was Pot Noodles all the way IF I was lucky… Ah, the youth of today!

    October 3, 2007
  • Fashiongeek


    It's seems you are the Deity of Annoying Crowds. Everywhere you go, people seem to have an impossibly strong urge to mill around you, stare and poke you with their elbows 😉

    And by the way, what is the deal with people who stop without warning right outside the doors and just stand there for ages doing God knows what, while others have to squeeze themselves past them to get out. Do they not want people to leave?

    This is the why I prefer to shop online. Sometimes a mall feels like the TV-game Frogger.

    October 5, 2007
  • Reading the last comment, they usually seem to be getting out an umbrella. I got stuck behind one once who was doing just that, and then she stepped heavily back onto my feet because someone I didn't see decided to come into the already crowded shop (crowded with those of us trying to get out). She didn't apologize or anything, just walked off with a shake of her umbrella as though to say "so what were you waiting behind me for?"

    October 7, 2007
  • AMEN! People, crowds, strollers and babies. I try to go shopping in the middle of the day to avoid crowds and FORGET that it only means I’ll be shopping with the annoying mommy crowd.

    October 11, 2007
  • AMEN! People, crowds, strollers and babies. I try to go shopping in the middle of the day to avoid crowds and FORGET that it only means I’ll be shopping with the annoying mommy crowd.

    October 11, 2007
  • AMEN! People, crowds, strollers and babies. I try to go shopping in the middle of the day to avoid crowds and FORGET that it only means I'll be shopping with the annoying mommy crowd.

    October 11, 2007