Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Shop Girl New Year's Preparations

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to be less messy and more organised.
I buy myself a half price calendar and a diary on my way to work.
That should do the trick, I think.
The shop also needs a New Year face lift. I set to work changing the ceiling display; this involves a lot of stretching, weight-lifting and going up and down the ladder.
I like being up the ladder. It gives me a feeling of being above it all.
That said, on the top rung, when you’re holding a heavy light in each hand, your hair caught on a string of crystal and you realise you’re about to sneeze, that perspective goes out the window.
“Do you need a hand?” Patrick, the retired street sweeper, calls up to me.
“No I’m fine!” I say.
I sneeze and nearly topple off the ladder.
“She’s an independent woman,” he says, to no one in particular.
I think he means stubborn.
Patrick has been popping in and out of the shop for years. He used to say a quick hello and give us a doughnut but since he lost his wife a couple of months ago, he’s taken to stopping by for longer. Mum helps him out with some of the forms he has to send off. He never wants tea, just a cup of water, the ‘good stuff’, he calls it.
He sits by the counter and comments on the world while I continue shifting light fittings around. It’s quite a work-out, which is why I’m not too bothered about adding ‘get fit’ to my list of resolutions.
To be honest, I haven’t really got a list of resolutions yet.
I’m an all or nothing sort of person and if I put pen to paper I’ll get depressed by the insurmountable challenges I’ll inevitably set myself.
I thought about New Year changes this morning as I grieved for the items I’d carelessly lost in a club on Saturday after I’d had one too many.
I sobbed into my coffee and thought, ‘Idiot.’
And I decided to give up drinking forever.
Then I thought six months was a more achievable target.
But then I thought it might get a bit dull for my friends and my date, so maybe I would give it up for just three months.
Or perhaps I would only drink on weekends.
But of course that would contradict the point of not drinking, which was to have mental clarity so I could write more on weekends.
I balance on one foot and do the ‘lunging tortoise’ yoga move, or whatever is it, to hang the lights onto the ceiling hooks. I pull my hair free and get down from the ladder.
Anthony, the local evangelical healer man is at the door and I let him in.
“Merry Christmas Princess Emma,” he says, beaming. “The Holy Spirit told me to come here and get white vinyl paint.”
“Vinyl paint? He should’ve sent you to the Builder’s Merchant,” I tell him.
He walks up to the counter to where my Mum is tidying up.
“Yes, but they are closed,” he says.
“I think the Holy Spirit should’ve got you up and out a bit earlier,” Mum says, looking at her watch.
But Mum being Mum, she goes upstairs and has a look anyway. And lo and behold, she finds a full pot of white vinyl paint, although she thinks it’s gone off and says it smells funny.
Anthony is delighted.
“Have a blessed and happy New Year!” he cries, as he leaves.
“You too,” I say, meaning it.
I go back up my ladder and my perspective changes once more; I give up all thoughts of punishing resolutions and carry on sorting out the ceiling.

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