This morning we boldly decided to visit Campbelltown. Drivers in the fifties still had warnings of ‘driving-in’ hanging on the back of their new cars when I last visited that town. Perhaps it was also when I used to go swimming in a creek at Casula, not far from there, while a teenager with totally uncontrollable and spontaneous twinges.
We put the Global Positioning System on ‘McArthur Square,’ Campbelltown, and clipped it on a special bracket inside the car window. It took us faultlessly and without exchanging any blows to our destination in just forty minutes.
Of course, after arrival we drove around trying to park with many others doing the same. We already had been told that McArthur Square is huge, and indeed, a Shopping Emporium unlike anywhere around the Southern Hemisphere. A Mecca for lingerie, mobile phone covers, artificial hair extensions and food halls. A behemoth of a roofed over city entirely dedicated to bright ‘down- lights’ and shops for shoppers shopping. We searched our minds what we had actually planned to do there. It was such a nice spring day with daffodils sprouting. What begot us?
Helvi had a sudden insight with wanting to find a book named ‘Mood Matters. Apparently it had been recently recommended by our literature cum laude expert and investigable Warrigal. We found an enormous bookshop named Borders, so big the books looked like postage stamps. We had advice that the book wasn’t yet available in Australia. What to do next amongst the hordes of mobile swipers and triple story prams being pushed by bull-necked fathers/ husbands, wives/ partners with glittering jewel bedecked wrists, force feeding brats with chips, gravy and smoothies?
The relief of a food court.
” Two John Dory fillets with chips and salad please.” “It will take ten minutes,” The friendly shop assistant replied. The Fish shop front named itself ‘Shark’s delight.’ Who could resist that? We were given the food on the plastic plates with two sachets of salt and pepper each. Now I am a careful distributor of salt over my food. I cautiously sprinkled half the salt over the chips and fish and stashed the sachet with half the salt remaining carefully under my plate for later use. I felt I was being watched.
Indeed, Helvi, without any qualms, filched my portion of salt from under my plate and calmly sprinkled it over her chips. I know she likes salt. I reminded her it was my salt but she accused me of being mean and making a fuss over salt. How petty. We finished our meal and walked around till we found DJ’s. It rankled me still that I had had half a sachet of salt and she one and a half and yet my feelings of remorse and guilt went immediately into automatic.
Amazingly in most of those large shopping centres they provide huge leather chairs in the vast corridors for shoppers to lounge around in. Yet, away from food courts they often remain empty. I suppose, shoppers don’t have time to squander away from shopping? We had the Saturday Herald and sunk ourselves luxuriously down. I strolled off mulling over the salt incident and decided to make amends. I bought two scoops of Raisin Rum gelato from miles away, hiked back totally exhausted to our leather fauteuils and offered a few bites to Helvi. She took the whole lot and said,”why don’t you get your own?” Back I went, ordered another two scoops. This time, the’ Mixed Berries.’ “Gee, you like my gelato”, the Asian girl chortled.
She gave me an extra half scoop. Perhaps there is justice!