It’s impossible to walk in the city centre without small children careening into my kneecaps at high velocity. There is no snow, just a persistent rain blowing in from the Irish Sea. The British Genetic Queuing Instinct becomes crippled in these situations, we stand confused in shops like carrier pigeons that have been dragged off course by powerful magnetic fields. Sensible queries like “Excuse me ma’am, are you in the queue?” garner baleful looks and possible hatred. My neck retreats further into the interface of my scarf and coat. I wish I could hibernate. I wish I was a big shaggy Kodiak bear.
I wish I could say something trite about how shopping in the cold and the wet taught me a life affirming message about the true meaning of Christmas. I wish I could say that I stopped to help a homeless person and my dark calloused heart was made clean by simple goodness. That’s a lot of wishing. I didn’t do those things. I purchased some presents, possibly ones that will sit in other peoples’ dark cupboards, forgotten, maybe wasted. I got cold. I drank tea and thought about going back to Yorkshire to see my family with all their combined quirks, neuroses and flaws. I wonder how they cope when this lanky son returns with money problems and ‘relaxed’ employment prospects.
The weather outside is frightful and I wish I was a kodiak bear.