THE INSANE WRITER GOES SHOPPING

A cancelled seminar in the afternoon is welcome news for most people. Including for insane writers..

The teacher who held the seminar had fallen a victim to the tedious duty of attending a colloquium. Also, I had unintentionally made an attempt on his life when I had aimed my notebook at two flies, whose occult rituals – circling around the ceiling without stopping – had started to make me feel sleepy and stupid. The missile had sailed past the neck of my teacher, failing to flatten out the intended targets, and had landed upon a shelf with a soft thump. My teacher, a highly estimable and friendly person, had darted an anxious look at me, and I do hope my explanation reassured him. Because now that I think of it, the colloquium might just have been an excuse to escape another attempt on his life.

I had better return to the point after this uninteresting information.

I decided to spend the afternoon indulging in consumerism and in the dispensing of accumulated capital. And thus, equipped with my faithful blue rucksack, I sauntered out of the decrepit English Seminar and scuttled down a long slope to town.

Being an insane writer, I was naturally bound to do my shopping in an insane way.

Stepping into a shopping centre, I became aware of a watch sale going on. The most revolting watches were on display. Studded with cheap stones, scratched and sporting dreadful colour combinations, they aimed to knock anyone's eye out. Whether they would ever adorn someone's wrist was another question. Nevertheless, tons of people were flocking about the boxes containing the watches, the less refined among the tactile analysts pushing aside potential rivals by means of surreptitiously applying a sharp elbow.

Next, I critically scanned the shoe section, searching for flip-flops. I discovered a promising pair – but their footbeds were inlaid with crystals.

What was the use of such decorations if one's feet were going to cover them? And what if the friction caused skin irritations? I narrowly avoided having my spectacles knocked off by a dangling wall-carpet consisting of summery pink beads as I trotted off, disillusioned.

I cast a look of cold disdain at some very frilly and absurdly fussy underwear in the lingerie section, was nearly impaled by a pointy umbrella tucked underneath the arm of a careless lady, tripped on a stair and managed to reach the escalator, unscathed, spectacles slightly askew.

In the cosmetics section, the make-up products were clamouring for buyers, the tags bearing the preposterously high prices skilfully tucked away from sight. A more specialised way of shopping, namely photoshopping is another way of spending one's time, and it was evident when I looked at the pictures of flawless models. As I whisked past the section displaying shampoos and hair-dyes, I remembered that I could photoshop my hair purple before executing sinister schemes where my thick and obstinate mane was concerned.

Still, the incredible range of colours, all the lipsticks, nail varnish bottles and eye shadows managed to leave me weak in the knees and quite befuddled indeed; and the perfumes would have robbed even the best bloodhound of its true sense of smell.

Embarking on a hand cream hunt, I eyed dozens of tubes warily before making up my mind and choosing a tube with the meticulousness of a perfectionist hen.

The apples must have been terrified of me, because they underwent a thorough check-up i.e. prodding, a close scrutiny for brown patches etc. until I picked a fine specimen – which, by the way, I forgot to consume, and which turned brown and soft anyway.

Venturing into clothes shops was fraught with danger for one's ears. The music was atrocious. In most cases, teenage girls moaned along to a deafening techno beat, as if suffering from constipation. The clothes I saw in some of these stores were supposed to be post-modern but gave me the distinct impression of having been saved up from the Middle Ages. I was just the same sure that they would find buyers. Ever since I had seen one of my teachers wearing Snoopy socks, I had changed my mind about a lot of things.

The bookshop was a source of constant temptation for me. Once I walked in there, dislodging me was as difficult as removing a limpet from a rock. On more than once occasion, my plastic bags have split open under the weight of their angular burdens. My parents, in a fit of desperation, bought me a large cupboard – to be devoted exclusively to my books. My mother's tentative suggestions that I should perhaps get rid of some books mostly travelled into one ear and out the other.

Music shops, too, were tremendously difficult for me to resist. It wasn't any better with the DVD film section. And chocolate (preferably dark, or stuffed with hazel nuts) was terribly tempting as well. The biggest amount of willpower was required where the bookshop was concerned. I often had to go to one of the university institutes for my courses, and the bookshop lurked just opposite, beckoning to me, reducing me to a gooey puddle with pleading eyes, and in the background, a clock would chime menacingly. It was either the institute, or the bookshop. I had won my inner battles so far, but I was sure that miserable failure was just around the corner.

Stationary – another weakness of mine. Pottering among the pens, trying them out by writing odd stuff like "GODZILLA WAS HERE" on the supplied notepad, checking out the latest sticker collection and breathing in the scent of paper – it was heaven on earth.

When I went home, I was armed with a plastic bag which was in a sorry state, and my rucksack was very heavy, making my shoulders ache. Upstairs in my room, I clucked triumphantly over the results of my materialism, wiping them with a sponge. One never knew whose dirty hands had touched the articles before I had rescued them. As I tenderly put them in their carefully appointed places, I wondered vaguely who else had managed to visit about fifteen shops in two hours.

I felt immensely grateful to my teacher.

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