Shopping in the Real World

Completed my real world Christmas shopping yesterday. I don’t get into town on my own very often so it was quite a treat, further enhanced by the fact that I was just buying stocking fillers rather than gloomily hunting for the gift. A more relaxing ride by far.
Christmas shopping to me always about being jostled and appalled by the consumerism. But town was not that busy and the goods on view are simpler than in previous years. I think people have really given up on real world shopping and do 99% of it online now. I know I do. No wonder people are so pissed with Amazon.
It’s not just the prices. Ordering online or by phone saves heaving the damn stuff back to the cave. Then there is the difficulty in parking – including the endless nickel-and-dimming before you’ve even got to the shops. Public transport is no better. Town is hassle.
I bumped into a mandolinist friend and , to drop you in half way, we ended up in a pop-up cigar shop. Neither of us smokers,me were curious if it had always been there. The decor said yes, the assistant said no. The shelved were crammed with boxes of cheroots and single malt whiskies.

“Do you have any empty cigar boxes?” I enquired.
“Not at the moment, but come back. Making a cigar box guitar?” He probed knowingly. I took is number.

A the bus-stop the rain belted off the shiny new LED marquee that flashed up “20 mins”. Changing my length of focus I spotted the Italian cafe across the road.
Inside it was clean and dry. My nostrils filled with the snug aroma of freshly ground and almond croissant. Half way through I remembered I was not driving. It was also Christmas and I’d been fed up all week. The house was empty at home. So a glass of wine arrived [to hell with my medication] chased by a further coffee (not espresso), perhaps subconsciously to mask it’s predecessor. By the end I was more relaxed.
Little in this world can improve upon the simple pleasure of an Italian cafe. In the UK at least.
Soon the bus rolled in and I paid up, pushing my way out to The Fens. I’d get a couple of remaining important things online. Not quite the same experience.

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