On Saturday we went where no sane person dares to go at this time of year: Chadstone shopping centre. Yes, to The Mall.
I wouldn’t normally bother even trying to shoe-horn myself into the place in late-December, but I had a $50 Chadstone gift certificate I needed to dispose of, preferably in exchange for goods and/or services. One way to do this, I reasoned, would be to buy some Christmas presents.
Now, fact is, even with Chadstone’s 7000-odd car parking spaces, it can be absolute murder trying to find somewhere to park at Christmas time. I know someone who swears blind he spent HOURS driving around there once trying to find somewhere to park, and that was in the middle of the night. So Iris and I decided to do the sane thing and catch the bus.
When we got there, it seemed like the population of Melbourne, and some of their friends, had decided to come along too. But we dived in, and after much roaming around, managed to find a couple of things for my mum and her boyfriend. I won’t reveal what they were here because they might be reading, and I wouldn’t want to reveal a surprise. Especially as one of the things really will be a surprise, as for once I was able to think of something to give them all by myself. I hope they like it. God, I hope they like it.
After a few hours of wandering round, we headed home and had some lunch, before catching a train into the city for more Christmas shopping. Melbourne Central was pretty busy, but thankfully Myer was a tad quieter, and after some hunting around various stores we found some great stuff for the kids in Toys-Я-Us. (You know, I never used to believe that kids really wrote letters backwards, but my son Isaac does it consistently with S’s, so there you go.)
My sister had requested a present we were unable to find in any of the big shops, so we wandered around the corner in Swanston Street into Mind Games, where the shop assistant greeted us by saying "Hello Daniel, what can I help you with?"
It turned out it was one of the many Peters that I went to uni with, though I’m far from sure what his surname is. Whatever it is, Peter had just what we were looking for, though to be honest he didn’t sound delighted to be working there. I chuckled to myself when he felt the need to glance at my credit card signature, since the card quite clearly says my name on it. Probably a reflex action. Or maybe he didn’t remember my surname either. Or maybe he thought I’d be using a stolen card…
So with an armful of parcels we staggered back to the station, tired but contented that most of the Christmas shopping was taken care of.