Sunday, December 26, 2010

Challenge 4: The Sale

Have I mentioned before that I hate shopping? (And ker-bam! Half of my female readers leave.)

It's true; I do. If pressed to describe why, I'd say it's a cross between the mathematical odds of finding something you a) like, b) can afford, and c) look good in, and the fact that you have to deal with Other People in the form of traffic, parking, aisle-blocking, indirect wandering, noisy conversations, buskers, and on and on and on it goes. Have you ever watched C.S.I. and marvelled at the fact that, had someone not turned their head at exactly the right moment to see the bullet hole on the corner of the car fender as it disappeared into the baker's neighbour's secret underground car-park that they had previously thought was merely a shed used by local children for vegetable-growing experiments except for that time that little Sarah disappeared in there for eight days before being re-discovered by a passing Jesuit priest and only then because he was taking his sick mother's Pomeranian for a walk and it heard the dog whistle that little Sarah found under one of the ammunition benches but whose function has never really been explained, the crime would not have been solved? Well, that's the way I feel about shopping*.

So my challenge is to survive today's Boxing Day sales. As I type this, I am aware that this could be my final blog post. My arms may be torn off and used as battering tools by women in the GHD hair straightener section. It's possible I will wander between several dozen tweens and a Justin Bieber CD rack. Most likely, I will merely be crushed into a freezer in an unfortunate whitegoods-related incident.

For those about to shop, I salute you. It's been an honour.

* i.e. The odds of it working out successfully are both minuscule and not without unnecessarily convoluted circumstances.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Challenge 3: The Dinner

My parents think I don't cope well with solitude. When I pointed out the fact that I live by myself, they said it didn't count. Because of The Doctor. Apparently even though he, oh, I don't know, CAN'T TALK because he's A CAT doesn't count. "He's still family," said Mum, who was knitting him a little cat-shaped vest for next winter, having ignored my advice that a) his fat stores keep him warm enough and b) horizontal stripes are not his friend. (I'm praying knitting is not on my challenge horizon. At least the needles may come in handy as a weapon.) Anyway, my father in particular believes that it's an adult skill -- sorry: Adult Skill -- to be able to go to a restaurant and have a solo meal. "And Anise's doesn't count, either " he barked.

So last night I went to Hellas Kitchen to have Greek.

"Table for...?" The waiter was looking down the street, as if my posse was about to roll up for koupepia and fish.

With that single word, I could see the panic in his eyes. But I ignored it. Like I ignored the people at the next table eyeing me like I was some kind of social retard, forced to dine alone after an unfortunate Exorcist-like episode. And like I ignored the pitying stares of the women having a girls' night a few tables away. At one point they raised their glasses to me; I still don't know quite how they meant it. "Suck on that!", I'm thinking.

On the plus side, Paris the waiter seemed to be having a personal challenge of his own; he clearly thought I'd been stood up, and tried to make it up to me. He took great care to point out the specials of the day, recommended what turned out to be a superb bottle of Riesling, and kept solicitously asking if there was anything else he could get me. Despite his (rather attractive) attentions, I got so bored I ended up dissecting my handbag and purging all of the expired gift cards and old video store memberships for something to do. I also found a tiny notebook and started making my own challenge revenge list, shortly to be inflicted upon other people.

By the end of the bottle (and after creating a list that includes my father having to sit through a Kate Hudson movie marathon -- enough to break any man's spirit), I was feeling considerably more chipper. And then came the best part: Paris comped me dinner.

Consider this challenge dusted.