woensdag, 27 oktober 2004

Urban irritations

I live in a new building in the old center of our city. As in every town, the city-centre is the main shopping area. Clothes, shoes, presents, stuff: all together in one square kilometer. Handy, for most people. It is also my shopping area. My supermarket, my drugstore, my bakery, my bank: scattered around on that square kilometer and surrounded by clothing and shoe and stuff shops. Not so handy at all.

This is one of the reasons I do my weekly shopping on Monday. On Monday, the ‘other’ shops open at 1 PM, ‘mine’ at 10 AM. On Monday morning, the city is empty – only happy locals doing their weekly shopping. On any other day of the week – Saturdays are the worst -, the streets are filled with happy recreational shoppers. I avoid them – and the centre – as much as possible. I try not to disturb the fragile status quo.

Unfortunately, sometimes you unexpectedly run out of necessary stuff – like toilet paper, or wine – in the middle of the week. If postponing the purchase, or borrowing from the neighbours, is not an option, there’s only one solution: shop. Take a deep breath and jump into the crowd. Manouevre between the common people. Try to control my irritation, my urge to push people out of my way and shout ‘hurry-up’ and ‘move along’.

Why? I’ll tell you why: For some reason, people start strolling in a pedestrianized shopping area. Do a bit of window shopping, stand still on the spot – just like that! – to chat with other recreational shoppers… Very annoying! Can’t they see that they’re blocking my trough route? I know that they see it as their right to zig-zag from shop to shop, but it’s my direct A to B road. My motorway. I don’t slow down, stop or zig-zag on theirs, now do I?

Can’t the city introduce a ‘fast-lane’ in the streets, for locals only? So we can shop whenever we want at our own speed? Or is that a form of discrimination?

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