It gets wild. People as far as the eye can see. Guomao at peak rush hour.

‘Doris, go shopping!’ he said. He meant the bookstore, but I’ve been there already too many times; I’m barred. So off to Fida I went, on my trusted vehicle.

I am not one for shopping. Stockmann in particular makes me nauseous. Too many pompous people, who are studying the ceiling with their nose in the air pompously, whilst marching, plowing as on a battlefield with ferocity -and whilst looking ridiculously pompous- through the crowds of peasants and serfs, through piles of pompous knickknacks, as if the Swedes were due back here any moment. I saw Kirsi P, I am pretty damn sure of it. For me that’s a big deal, he couldn’t care less.

My dear fellow, apple of my eye, man’s best friend etc. let me wait. Surrounded by the skirmish that is Helsinki during the holiday season (it gets wild. People as far as the eye can see. Guomao at peak rush hour) I put myself under the clock, which is where a lot of people like to meet. There’s also a tram stop, and a Christmas market, and the clock hangs smack above the middle of an entrance. People galore.

Les People, the good folks, the laobaixing -there is a time and a place for everyone and everything, and today was clearly neither time nor place. From the moment I fetched my vehicle from the valet (= took bike from shed), people had universally agreed to be in my way. It was a done deal. Shadows on my path, from the island well onto the bike rack (I love me a good bike rack, don’t you?). The shrieking hordes began to well take shape before the gates with the twinkly lights. Apparently there’s some sort of a window display but I was none the wiser as I made my way to the clock, losing a shoe and half an arm in the process.

My gawsh, the vicious crowds.

And he made me wait, which is not that big of deal, except that today the menacing crowds were so much harder to deal with than usual. As that Frenchman once said: hell, it’s the others. Pinching and shoving and bumping and glaring, there they all were. I was after all the thing standing between them and the things in dire need of consumption, therefore I must have deserved the pinching and the poking and the toe-stomping somewhat. Therefore, when invited to join in the mayhem, I politely ignored the invitation to treat (Doris, go shopping! Go and consume, you woman!) there and then, and took to my vehicle (bike against rack) after our business was done with.

Now, there’s three UFF’s, two Fida’s and two Lidl’s on the way home.  It would be rude to not grace at least one of these institutions with a presence. Fida it was. Three shirts that I cannot wear until the temperatures are back in the double digits again – minus a student discount. As I zipped up my coat, a few posters congratulated me on the fact that my purchases had helped a school get writing equipment, and a girl got a little push in the back on her road on becoming a teacher. I’ll happily wait those fourteen months before it’s acceptable to wear sleeveless again.