It’s week 75 and a trip to the city proved I wasn’t quite as ‘cured’ of consumerism as I had thought – I almost fell at the very first hurdle
• SO one of the few positives of the pandemic for me personally (perhaps the only one) was the realisation that I didn’t need any more ‘stuff.’ That I already had all the stuff in the world. In fact I was stuffed up with stuff. I used to scoff at people when they said ‘stuff’ didn’t make you happy. Yeah right! I figured they just weren’t going to the right shops. But during the long lockdown months, I really started to get it. Maybe it was being surrounded by all that ‘stuff’ – I had enough of it! I would never have described myself as the world’s biggest shopper or anything, but I was certainly not shy of a few big blow-outs a year, so this was a rebirthing of sorts. I was a new, better version of myself. I was totally brilliant. Sir David Attenborough needed to hear about me.
• With that in mind, imagine how liberated I felt striding down Patrick Street last week for the first time since January 2020? I was free from the urge to visit every single shop to peruse their ‘stuff’ for fear I’d be missing out on something, like the perfect black jeans to add to the six pairs I already had (or for a dress for the first day back in the office that had a subliminal message that said ‘forget anything you might have heard about me, I’m totally together and I can do this’). Sure we were only there for a bit of a look around, a culchie’s day out, if you will. My nephews, who I was with, needed some sports gear (and if there’s one thing the city isn’t short of, it’s sports shops) and we said we’d enjoy a nice brunch and have a morning off.
• Now, it didn’t start straight away, not in the first sports shop anyway. I was still very much in control at that stage. I think. Although, my memory could be playing tricks with me. But in the second sports shop I was strangely drawn to the rails with the bralette tops and the bicycle shorts. For the record, I wasn’t really a bralette top-and-bicycle-shorts sort of girl at the best of times, and am certainly not now, but they were sparking something familiar in me – the desire to consume. They’d be the perfect motivation to ramp up my fitness regime, I rationalised. I could power walk my way into them, and I’d be ready to wear them in public by summer ’22 (while roller blading).
• I pulled back just in time, rounded up the herd, and we got out of there fast. It was a close call. A coffee stop helped me get my head together, and when one of the smallies needed (yet another) toilet stop, and we found ourselves outside a certain high-end department store, I figured I could handle it. Bad call. Within 10 minutes I was in a changing room packed tightly with stuff, adrenalin was pumping through my body, and I was feverishly flinging on wildly inappropriate outfits, all of which I figured I had to have. Eventually the kids whining outside the changing room door became too much and I feared we’d be thrown out if they did another loop on the ‘moving stairs,’ so we split. Also, the three things that I really, really, really ‘needed’ in my life weren’t available in my size (a new category I’m calling ‘middle-age’ that fluctuates wildly depending on what time of day it is, and where the moon is).
• As we scurried back to the car park without looking right or left, I realised that I’d fallen at the first hurdle. It turned out I wasn’t ‘cured’ of consumerism at all. I just hadn’t been exposed to it for the past year. Anyway, we hit the road west promising the kids the next time we’d come back we’d definitely go on a bus, a double decker. As it happened their highlight was the ‘moving stairs,’ and when the elevator in the car park jolted and we all went flying forwards, which kind of makes me glad I didn’t fall off the wagon – the best things in life might be free after all. But next time I go to the city, I’ll go alone to completely road-test that theory. The one thing I did realise, when looking at the new season collections, is that we should never get rid of anything. A coat I fell hard and fast for was more or less the very same as one I had around 10 years ago. Marie Kondo has a lot to answer for.
• Anyway, the Olympics might be done and dusted for another four years, but next up is the Paralympics, so let’s show the same enthusiasm and support for this event. And of course we’re also on the road to Croker. It’s probably a bit early to start making the ham sandwiches, but we should definitely start planning what we’ll wear on the big day. I can’t stop thinking about a red sweater I sawthis week … Up the rebels!