It has started early this year. The first case of a frozen Christmas turkey being fought over by two middle aged women. One wore a floral outfit, the other just jeans with a mixed coloured top that showed straining black bra straps of an estimated 20D size. The floral lady was wearing bright pink rubber moulded floppy sandals and the other normal strap-on sandals. Both were stout and somewhat formidable in appearance. I would not like to be smacked by either of them. That’s why I kept a distance and decided to observe rather than counsel them or mediate. I have yet to experience being hit by a frozen turkey!
Why they were in such a state while there were other turkeys available is just typical of this period of ‘peace on earth’ and sharing of ‘good will’. No period is more susceptible to shopper violence and fisty- cuffs than the few weeks leading up to Christmas. Just ask the police. Paddy wagons drive a steady trade of enraged shoppers and other merrymakers up and down to the glossy green painted cells of reflection and introspection. Why does it get to this? Is it pent-up expectations of unrealisable ambitions or a search for unobtainable happiness sadly lacking during non-Christmas months? It is normal, it is normal! If only we knew this.
Around and before Christmas nothing is further from normal. As the date of the 25th of December gets closer a maelstrom of shoppers will be seen swirling clock-wise around those meccas of consuming, the holy shopping malls. The heat is usually relentless and often 36C in the car park alone, where the two fingers up your bum has already greeted many fighting for a parking spot. ‘Holy night-silent night’ is now filtering through all speakers strung around everywhere. Bing Crosby is earning billions for Westfield and other conglomerates of consuming empires. The credit card bloat is showing up in peoples’ purple faces with all caution now thrown to the wind. An elderly man might be seen squatting outside in the shade of rows of entangled shopping trolleys being licked back to consciousness and revived by a friendly Jack Russell.
The food Court hallowed halls are packed with bodies regurgitating, grazing from polystyrene boxes. Huge jaws silently moving up down and sideways, chewing their cud. ‘Silent night- holy night’ ringing in their ears. Upwards and downwards escalators, huge shopping bags sliding over marbled floors. Puddles of yoghurt or pourable vanilla exploded on crazed floors fenced off by yellow posts and stripy ribbons. Still, someone slipped, broke a leg and is contemplating suing. An Ambulance is waiting outside now. Some shoppers have fainted and are being cooled down in special first aid rooms at the ready in anticipation of shopper fatigue and dehydration.
And yet, the best (or worst) is yet to come. That is the afternoon of the 24th of December. Hysteria has now taken over. A kind of high pitched Credit card swishing den has overtaken Silent night-Holy Night. A pandemonium stage has been reached. A flood of double packed trolleys, dripping with the most unlikable consumables, are being pushed and now descending upon pale looking cashiers. A mixture of Armageddon and Dante's inferno with a touch of Norwegian Scream on the Bridge has been reached. Children are being smacked senseless by overwrought,enraged parents at the end of their tether in need of a solid dose of Panadeine Forte. Howling babies with dummies strewn about like so much sparkle and glassy glitz. Things at around late night shopping at 9pm at the Holy Malls are best described as being in a state of the masses running amok or berserk. A solitary lonely gent, quietly sobbing in his folded hands is still being licked by his dog. Man's best friend in time of need.
And then, just as if nothing has happened, real peace and quiet has descended upon stretched-out sleepy Australian suburbia. Suddenly, like a cooling southerly blown on-shore from Antarctica, the Christmas has passed. Blessed relief. It is over for another year.
Silent night- holy night.