Retail therapy post COVID

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Are you a writer of lists? I have been writing lists since early adulthood. Some are chores to do, things to buy or bills to pay. I find great satisfaction in putting a big sweeping cross through the tasks that have been completed. Some people I know merely place a tick next to the offending chore or job well done, but that seems too timid to me. I need a big bold action to match the completed task.

While stuck at home during the year, the list of chores and bills were all sorted, but forlornly on the fridge was the list of things to buy – abandoned, glanced at every so often but largely ignored.

However, I have finally taken my list of things to buy off the front of the fridge. It was held on the door by those lovely little magnets that friends bring back from overseas. You know those places that we can now only dream about – miniature Eiffel Towers, Leaning Towers of Pisa and even Sydney Harbour Bridges – once merely memorials to kitsch but now symbolic of distant, unattainable destinations. Who would have thought?

With my regained freedom, following the combined efforts of all Melburnians, I snatched the list off the fridge, shoved it in my handbag and headed out for some frivolous but much needed retail therapy.

The first item on my list was cocktail glasses. In my quest for hedonism in lockdown, my bartending skills had burgeoned, but my clumsiness had increased. Smashed on the kitchen tiles went a beautiful crystal cocktail glass, one of a pair given over 25 years ago as a wedding gift. Hardly used. Generally collecting dust. It must have felt neglected for all those years, and then I went and dropped it. And it had to be the good one that broke, not the crappy, everyday, bog ordinary glass. No, it is always the best that breaks. So, I went on a mission to buy a new pair. Expensive – because I was worth it. Well, kind of. I rationalised that I had saved the money to buy them since I hadn’t been anywhere in bloody five months!  

The second item was a lime tree. Why? Well a fair number of cocktails call for lime juice and I figured I would get ahead and go straight to the source. Tree. Tick. Big tub for said tree. Tick. Potting mix. Tick. The tree is now in a warm spot with full sun all day. Now I just have to wait a few years and buy a few more bottles of gin before that cocktail is sorted.

The third item was a tomato plant. During lockdown I had many a chat with the beans and snow peas that I managed to grow in tubs near my back door. The daily ritual was to check on them, coax them into making more produce for me to eat and generally to have some living thing to talk to, face to face or perhaps that should be leaf to face. They kept me sane, I thought, and my logic has now extended to the concept of summer vegetables, ripe red luscious tomatoes hanging on my plant, oozing with that lovely tomatoey smell that comes when you crush their leaves or brush against them. I am turning into a romantic, optimist horticulturalist. Let me dream a little and it is cheaper than a shrink. Besides, if I can’t go travelling very far this summer, then I may as well have a go at gardening.

Christmas presents was the last list item. These were for the grandchildren – I couldn’t bear the thought of not managing to have their presents sorted.

So, now I have undergone a transformation. I don’t care if I vigorously cross my lists or tick them, as long as I can satisfy that urge to shop.

Has your life returned to some sort of normal? What does ‘COVID normal’ mean for you?

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Written by Dianne Motton


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