Back in half term I was in Trotters with the kids. Hubert was getting his hair cut. Behind me, sitting on the aeroplane seat thing in the shoe bit, was a woman with three children. She was talking about how she wasn’t sleeping very well. It had something to do with being the sort of person who makes lists in her mind at night. She was someone who had an active mind, she said. She was just that sort of person. She was sleeping so badly in fact, that she went to the Massage Centre on Turnham Green Terrace in an attempt to get her relaxed enough to sleep. Then she said:
“It could be worse. I was in that boutique, Iris, on the High Road the other day and this woman completely lost it when it turned out that they didn’t have a pair of boots in her size. I mean she just burst into tears.”
Then the girl behind the counter in Trotters said: “It must have been something else that tipped her over. It must have been the final straw. I can’t imagine anyone crying over boots.”
I can! Me! Cry, woman, cry like a WOLF when you can’t get your trotters into a pair of new season Isabel Marants. Howl. Howl at the moon!
Hmm, I mused. The people here are even madder than in Hampstead. These are my people.
So I went into Iris last Friday (Black Friday). I took the kids (ain’t got no one else to take them). Hubert was on his buggy board. I had all the shit jangling off the pram. We are a hideous, awkward, inconvenient, clunking, travelling freak show these days. (It will pass. It will pass). The girls at Iris didn’t help me open the door to get all my tremendous shit and children through, which only served to prolong the excoriating spectacle of us going into anywhere that isn’t Waitrose or M & S where they have a nice little slope, big aisles and automatic doors and no judgment. And then I picked up a pair of boots and they were £330. And then the shop girl (you only work in a shop you know. You can drop the attitude. (An Ab Fab reference there for the more mature Bovarine)) came up to me and said:
“Just so you know, we are doing 20% off today.”
“Great.” I said.
“Apart from on New Season, accessories, something, something, something.” (She was drowned out at this point by Hubert’s protests. He hates going into any establishment that doesn’t dispense ice cream. Terrible lovely little shit!)
“What about these?” I asked, holding up a boot.
“No. They’re accessories.”
I put the boot down and steered the pram towards the door as if captaining the Titanic. And then I went through the humiliating ordeal of getting us all out of the shop again. Rattle, clunk, thud, ow. And just as I was on the pavement the shop girl (you only work in a shop you know. You can drop the attitude) sauntered over to door, pushing
it shut and said:
“Can I help you with that?”
And I saw my rattled reflection in the shop window from the outside and I said to myself it will pass it will pass.