Reading Jessica Inclan's post about shopping, I could really relate. I was going to do a post on genre, but I'll save it for when I'm feeling less brain dead. In the meantime:
Every year I go back to the UK to visit my mother. It's okay for the first few days and then she gets a look on her face that I can only describe as evil and she says: "Let's go shopping."
Although I manage to suffer motorcycle traffic jams that look like Hells Angel's meets every day of my life, walking down Oxford Street puts the fear of God in me. There's just so much stuff! And people are carrying it away like little ants, to some hive where it all gets consumed I guess. By the time she's got me in the food section of Marks and Spencers, I can hardly breath. Stacks of packaged biscuits gleam under fluorescent lights, spotless apples shine in neat rows like little victims. Meat...oh the meat is so far from being meat, I could be a vegetarian and still eat steak there. It's so trimmed and pinked and wrapped within an inch of it's life. They even have pre-prepared Caesar Salad: sparkling, perfect ears of romaine with just enough crutons, pre-crumbled bacon bits and dressing, in a package with an American Gangster on the front.
I can't breathe. I can't move. I just stand there, jaw-dropped and sweating in the carefully controlled airconditioning scented with something that smells like Christmas pudding.
I've been gone to long. I've waded through a puddle of day old pigs blood to get a piece of pork that's been out in the sun for two hours. I've brushed the mud off spherical objects to find out if they were tomatoes, and if they were ripe. I've pointed to a hapless chicken and watched it killed, de-feathered and gutted before my very eyes.
Every once in a while, I go to the labyrinthine fabric market in Cho Lon and sweat and bicker for white cotton, and then take it to the lady around the corner who sits in front of her old Singer sewing machine. I draw her a picture of what I need her to make and she measures me again and giggles at how big I am. A week later, I pick up my shirt.
Now, when I hit a modern city, I'm lost. Who can I talk to about how to cook the pork? How do I know if the melon is ripe or not? What if I don't like the buttons on the shirt hanging on the hanger next to 300 others in differents sizes of the same style?
But I have to admit, when I walk into the huge, 5 floor Waterstones Books down on the Strand, I'm in love all over again.
Causes Remittance Girl Supports
Coalition Against the Trafficking of Women The Pleasure Project: A sex-positive organization working in the HIV prevention field.