February 14, 2013
Life is but a Trinket.
She was sitting next to me in one of those leather seats that those large Westfield shopping centers have sprinkled around their cavernous Meccas of consumption for the masses… Oddly enough, very often no one sits on them. Perhaps, sitting down is not in the spirit of what those temples are about; spending money and consume, consume.
The girl had a dark somewhat Gauguinish Polynesian look about her and was dressed in a multi coloured tropical fashion. I did not want to be seen as curious but decided to occasionally take a side-long glance at her. She seemed to be busy fiddling with something around her ample brown neck. I had noticed her earlier opposite from where I was sitting at a shop where they were selling lots of low-cost jewelry. You know, there are always lots of those shops about, selling indefinable trinkets, together with gold looking necklaces, also hairclips and mobile phone covers, Valentine love tags with ‘for Sandy, Macy, Lorraine or Shane, Bob, Wayne or a Ron’ together with shoulder strapped handbags. Those shops also have salesgirls who are permanently yawning or on urgent texting missions behind the counter, refusing to give service or make eye contact with the customer.
Those shopping centers have a noise unique in the world of public sounds. There are traffic noises, airplanes, street noises, barking dogs, tolling church bells and so many others. However, those large shopping centers have a noise that is different. It is the noise of the people swept up and totally concentrated on and busy with consuming. Like a tidal wave it sweeps up everything in front of them towards the cash register with the consumables clutched in both hands, the card ready at the fore, often held between teeth and the pram pushed by determined women with child bearing thighs or a brutish looking but compliant husband… You can actually hear the swiping of thousands of cards with the familiar high pitched timbre of the electronic print out receipts coming from dozens if not hundreds of shops and their purchases.
That is the noise of a shopping center.
Yet, unbelievably as it seems, there are sometimes scenes of serenity and calm in those raging seas of frenzied shopping. There was a barefooted blond woman sitting opposite me and the Gauguin girl. She was peacefully reading a book with her legs comfortably tucked under her hips. Her slippers were on the polished floor beneath the leather settee together with a small bag. I don’t think she had bought anything. She was reading a book titled ‘Snow White the Huntsman’ and seemed to devour the pages rather quickly. She was obviously reading a good story. I noticed that on her toe (next to the big one) of her left foot, there was a small silver looking ring. She wriggled her toes every now and then. A few times she looked up with a quick glance around her before returning once more to her book.
In the meantime I had found out that the Polynesian Gauguin looking girl next to me had bought a small necklace with a kind of silver wood nail as a pendant. She had managed to put it around her neck. She looked a normal girl with a friendly face, not too pretty but with a soft and feminine demeanor about her. After her success with this silver fence- nail necklace she took out her mobile phone and held it at arm’s length and started taking pictures of her adorned face with neck. This was followed by a rapid swiping and moving about of her fingers on her mobile. I suppose she was sending the pictures to a friend, possibly a nice boyfriend. A kind and caring boy, I hoped. Was the ‘nail’ a kind of promise of a more permanent thing to be fixed for the future? I am probably running ahead here, but; who knows?
Life is a Trinket.