I almost, very nearly, lost it.


Waiting, originally uploaded by quintinsmith_ip.


Life I don’t like to think of myself as being a quick tempered person. I like to think that when I get angry, it’s for a proper reason, like the person I’m dealing with being an arrogant so-and-so who won’t see both points of view or if I’m faced with something which is clearly ignorant or wrong. I like to think I can be perfectly rational about most anything. But today, in Marks & Spencers Food Hall, trying to fight my way through everyone else, I almost, very nearly, lost it.

I was walking up the aisle searching for some cranberry pickle (and the more I write, the more this sounds ridiculous) and found myself caught in a pincer movement between two baskets carried by two other shoppers looking in opposite directions. I too had a basket, a bag and backpack and I was literally wedged between them. I couldn’t move, just for a moment, just long enough for my teeth to clench and I could feel the heat burning into the back of my eyeballs.

I shoved myself forward, and I know I said something out loud like “It’s alright, I’ll get out of your way now…” as I stumbled into a wide open space (well as wide as the aisle). Seconds later, I was calm, placid, and slightly embarrassed. I looked backwards and couldn’t even see or remember who I’d been stuck between, and I good naturedly carried on shopping, asking an assistant about the pickle which we charged off together to find.

What is that Christmas does to us? It’s supposed to be a time for a rest, perhaps some calm reflection, on the previous year and what’s to come. Yet if we’re not careful we can all become cretins and jerks, desperate to create our ideal version of the holiday whatever the cost, and as happened in my case, I think, assuming that the world is out to make my life harder, which is clearly isn’t, at least not on purpose.

Happy Festivus.

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