I went shopping with the ex to Selfridges on Saturday. (Well a Saturday a couple of weeks ago anyway. I’m on holiday now.)
It was an eye-opening experience.
Not because I hadn’t gone to Selfridges before but because of the dramatic and noticeable personality overhaul the ex underwent while in the store.
I’m quite manic when I visit shops that have a lot of things to look at and I have no fixed agenda
i.e. I’m not thinking
“I want a kettle and then I’m leaving.”
I look at everything. I cannot talk or concentrate. I want to go through all the racks methodically one by one, sifting through the multitude of products. I need to be dragged around because I have ceased to function aside from browsing.
Muji, for example, is particularly irresistible. It’s like a pricey charity shop. I like to read all the labels and then mentally debate with myself whether I need anything. I desperately want to need something but the problem with Muji is that all of its products only look appealing en mass. Once you get them home you realise what a pile of junk it is.
Like those stupid plastic trays they always have. I love the clear acrylic compartments. I don’t know why. In my mind I’m filling them with things. What things? No idea, but just … some things that might fill an acrylic compartment.
After a while I reach a state of total shopper hypnosis and have sudden uncontrollable urges to buy things that have become crucial to my happiness.
JUST BUY IT!! BUY IT NOW!
YOU NEED IT!
YOU’LL USE IT!
YOU’LL USE IT EVERY DAY.
EVERY SINGLE DAY OF YOUR LIFE!
IT’LL BE AWESOME!
DO IT NOW!”
That’s my internal monologue. I’m not walking around Muji yelling. (Yet)
Occasionally the sensible quiet part in my brain says,
“Yes, yes, that’s very nice. Very nice.
But let’s not be hasty shall we?
You remember all the trouble we’ve had with things like this in the past don’t you?
You don’t want to be buying something only to return it do you? Think of how much unnecessary work that would be.
Why don’t we just look around a bit and come back in a little while?”
But the shouty part usually yells over the sensible guy, in a dastardly attempt to drown him out. (I don’t know why it’s a ‘him’. Its sexless really.)
“SHUT UP! SHUT UP! JUST BUY IT!
COMING BACK IS BORING. COMING BACK IS FOR LOSERS!
YOU’LL WASTE TIME. TIME IS MONEY EVERYONE KNOWS THAT.
DON’T BE SUCH A SQUARE. YOU NEED IT.
WE HAVE MONEY. YOU DESERVE A TREAT. YOU HARDLY EVEN DRINK!! GO ON BUY IT!
THERE WONT BE ANYTHING BETTER ANYWAY! YOU’LL JUST HAVE MORE HASSLE COMING BACK.
ONCE YOU HAVE IT, IT’LL BE DONE. DON’T YOU WANT TO BE DONE??
JUST BUY IT. PICK IT UP AND PUT IT IN YOUR HAND. TAKE IT TO THE COUNTER NOW!!!!
Eventually I get really tired and cranky. If I’m lucky I don’t buy anything.
If I succumb I come home with something useless, a lighter wallet and an agenda to rationalize my purchase. This is why I avoid shopping as much as possible.
So back to the ex: The ex’s personality underwent a remarkable and really quite odd change. You know those documentaries where some parasite crawls into the eye-ball of a snail, and then makes the snail change its entire behaviour so the snail crawls up on a branch so a bird can eat it, only so the parasite can live in the bird’s gut to complete its life cycle?
That’s what happened to the ex.
Well not literally. The ex wasn’t infected by a parasite that made the ex crawl up a branch on the look out for a bird, (You’ll be relieved to hear that) but what I mean is the behavioural pattern changes were comparable.
1. The ex became very relaxed. – Now the ex is not a relaxed person.
Sober. Not a relaxed person sober.
I felt I needed to add the ‘sober’ part. Un-sober the ex is suuuuper relaxed.
2. The ex seemed to be filled with a calm sense of inner well-being and benevolence.
The ex is quite benevolent in general, but the benevolence seemed more heightened than usual.
3. The ex also became surprisingly susceptible. Really susceptible.
Every time I pointed out something out there was a discussion, in some depth, of whether we could or should buy it.
New wine glasses, decanters, complete dinner sets. A new couch. We were both on some euphoric bender.
The ex started offering to buy me all sort of things. Just things I liked for no reason.
It was like Selfridges was some evil narcotic, some parasitic worm.
I didn’t take advantage of this, because I knew the ex wasn’t their normal aggravated self and I’m just not that kind of girl, believe it or not.
The ex bought me lunch (This was planned before our Selfridges jaunt. It was incentive to get me there in the first place you see. So no narcotic inducement)
I succumbed (dammit!) to Selfridges wicked wiles and bought myself 2 miniature bell jars things on stands.
Look. I need them. I’m going to use them. Really, I am. I’m going to put some drawings in there, like tiny cut-out things. I don’t know what yet but I swear I’m going to do it.
Both bell jars are now lying on the bedroom window-sill.
We finally walked out of Selfridges. It was raining and crowded on the grey pavement. Within mere minutes the hypnotic effect of Selfridges had worn off. The state of euphoria was palpably evaporating.
Back on the bus ride home though the hell of Oxford street, and the ex was back to
“GET BACK IN YOUR CORNER! BE QUIET! DON’T ANNOY ME. I KILL YOU!”
Fastest come down ever.