I grew up in a small country town about 94 kms south/west of Cairns. With a population of about 7000 people, shopping was not (in fact still isn’t) anything to write home about. During school holidays though, my parents would always carve out time to take us to Cairns for a day, which to my childhood self seemed like a shopper’s paradise.
Because it took over an hour and meant a drive down the dreaded Gillies Range (famous for its 263 corners and 800m elevation change in only 19kms of road), we always made a day of it. It was something that Chelsey and I learnt to anticipate with relish as days in Cairns also usually meant a chocolate dipped AND sprinkle coated ice-cream cone, the possibility of seeing a movie (my poor parents were dragged to every Disney movie released in the 1990’s) and getting a McDonald’s Happy Meal for lunch.
I know that to many people, this probably seems a bit lame. These days I pass McDonald’s every few minutes and living 15 minutes from two large shopping centres that have almost everything I could hope to get my hands on means that when I do want to shop it’s nothing just to pop in for half an hour and grab what I need. I’ve decided that this isn’t the way to have the most fulfilling shopping experience though. It was so much better when I was a child and I viewed shopping expeditions with an almost Christmas-Day type reverence.
In light of this realisation, on Sunday I shanghaied Molly into taking a trip to Brisbane city with me to look for an outfit for an upcoming event.
The poor girl had had about three hours sleep and was trying to beat an allergic reaction to the contact lenses that she had used for Halloween. When I showed up at her house at 8.30, she was dead to the world, but she refused to even entertain the thought of missing our trip.
I think we had both been looking forward to it all week, and that made the whole day a thousand times better. The convenience of having a shopping centre so close is wonderful, but I’ve been taking it for granted. Some things should always be a little bit sacred, and for me that includes day-long shopping expeditions… Ice-cream and Happy Meals optional.