The past few days have been a frenetic steeplechase of Christmas shopping for me.
Some people are good at shopping and actually enjoy it. I am not one of those people. I am a terrible shopper, and consequently, whenever I have to shop, it fills me with anxiety and dread.
Part of my problem is that I tend to overthink each purchase.
Normal person: Oh, Amy will love this sweater! And blue is her color. I’ll get it for her.
Me: I know Amy likes blue … but what if she doesn’t like this particular shade of blue? And will she like this weave? Its kind of a tight weave. Maybe she likes a looser weave. What if she has skin allergies? Maybe instead of this acrylic/wool blend, I should get her a cashmere sweater. But will she think I am being pretentious? Maybe she will be uncomfortable if I get her an expensive sweater. So I’ll just get her this wool blend sweater. But I don’t want her to think i’m a cheapskate. Hmmm … the tag in this one is really big and might irritate her neck. I guess I could cut it out before I give it to her. But then she wouldn’t be able to return it if she didn’t like it. Should I get her the medium? Or the large? If I get her the large, she might be insulted that I think she wears a large instead of a medium. But if I get her the medium she might be upset that I didn’t know what size she wears. But I guess I could just get the large and if she is upset I can explain that I figured she’d want to wear something thick under it … like a sweater she likes better than this one. I don’t know about these sleeves, though. She doesn’t like them tight around her wrists.
[Internal monologue continues on and on and on until store closes.]
That conversation in my head can literally go on for 30 minutes. To an outside observer, it looks as if I locked up and blue-screened while looking at sweaters, and that I am in need of a complete system reboot.
Now multiply that by the quantity of items I need to pick up for all the various people in my life and you can see why I always consider taking a good stiff belt of whiskey before I go shopping. Except that I don’t drink. And I am driving. So alcohol-enhanced-shopping (AES) is out.
In addition to shopping anxiety, throw in Christmas crowds, traffic jams, blaring music, time constraints, chaos, and mayhem and you have the perfect recipe for me wanting to slip away somewhere to hide and to wait for the crisis to pass.
To combat these feelings, I consider treating myself to a leisurely coffee at the Starbucks inside the Barnes & Noble bookstore. And maybe I will splurge on a nice magazine to read while drinking it.
However, even in this I stress myself out over the decision over whether I should or shouldn’t. I always feel guilty when I do something that is solely for my own enjoyment.
I am not normally a devil-may-care person, and so when a coffee and a magazine seems to me to be living a life of excess and debauchery, maybe I should reevaluate my views on life.