Maybe it’s cabin fever, or maybe it’s being slightly under the weather, but today I had to get out of the house for some undivided solitude. I love my son, but the constant demands to entertain him and play with him wear me down and make me cranky, cantankerous, and short-tempered. So I took the opportunity today to peruse the St. Stephen’s Day sales in the city centre. With my headphones on, it was pretty much all about spending time in my own head.
Spending a few hours trying on clothes isn’t necessarily guaranteed to improve my mood, but sometimes trying to view the experience from an observer’s point of view gives me something to laugh about. Some things sprang to mind immediately perusing the clearance racks in TK Maxx. Sometimes I want to write an open letter to fashion designers when I’m there. For starters, I am endlessly curious as to why year upon year there is such an abundance of horizontal stripes. It’s just not flattering. Then there’s the black top I found on the fancier racks. I couldn’t tell if it was meant to be a dressed down work top, or a dressed up athletics top. I mean, I know some outfits can multitask, but I think I should be able to at least easily tell if I’m meant to wear it to work or to the gym?
I will also instantly eliminate any top if I can’t figure out which way it’s meant to face. I’m not going to hunt for the tag to figure out which is the front and which way is the back. However, that paled in comparison to the Tahari top I found. I mean, it looked great on a hanger, but I got so hopelessly tangled that there was a second where I wasn’t certain I’d figure my way out of it again.
It wasn’t all fail. I picked up a few simple things. I wandered around a few shops until the crowds got to me then retreated to a cafe for some tea before heading home. I spent the time mulling over what I might write about today as nothing particular was springing to mind other than my fashion observations. But as I sat in a little nook in the tea shop I brought my mind back to my recent observation that I want to focus more on what makes me happy, and on a particularly grinchy day that seemed like an appropriate direction. It occurred to me that I just spent the better part of four hours shopping on a holiday. Not just any holiday, but the day after Christmas. I kept my headphones on most of the time, but I did chat to a couple of the ladies running the fitting rooms, as well as the girl serving me the tea. I know that St. Stephen’s day sales (the Irish version of Black Friday) expanded significantly in the last ten years and in the past it was much more common for shops to be closed that not. So while I sat there at my leisure I reflected on the luxury I have of not only not working on St. Stephen’s day, but also working in a job where I have the option to not work at all between Christmas and New Year. Although our office is nominally open for two days this week, it runs on a skeletal staff, mostly focused on transactions involving American clients and those engaged in last minute billing.
It was both sobering and uplifting to recognise the privilege of relaxing amongst people who were working to serve me. Sobering to acknowledge and uplifting to appreciate the what I have.
So there you have it. Grinchiness slightly negated.