A day in funky town

Frankly my dear,

Though I often call C-town boring and filled with colourless public servants, I have to admit that even  a simple trip to the shops provides me with plenty of interesting experiences. Today, I encountered a public laying-of-hands healing, somewhat rude Israeli cosmetic salesmen, a girl  who decided that she’d ignore that golden rule of “don’t sing in public unless at a karaoke bar” and middle aged ladies who ran away out the shop when they knocked knick-knacks off the shelf.

As I strolled through the C-Town centre this afternoon, I happened across a group of Chinese tourists complete with bumbags, cameras and matching t-shirts standing in a huddle around a man apparently undergoing some sort of laying of hands process. I can’t even begin to imagine why they would choose a manky tree in the middle of C-Town to undertake an apparently spiritual event but there was chanting, touching, closed eyes and swaying. Perhaps they were praying for deliverance from the chronic hayfever that seems to be plaguing everyone thanks to the abundance of trees in C-Town. I hope it worked, there doesn’t seem to be any other working cures in existence.

I’m sure you’ve all encountered the Israeli company which sells miracle cosmetic products from “the Dead Sea, you know, the Dead Sea, the miraculous, mysterious, mystic, mineral wonderland of the Dead Sea.” Their stalls are staffed by young Israelis apparently paying their way for an extended holiday in a foreign country and their sell always begins with them stepping forward and asking if they may ask you a question. If you’re stupid enough to say yes then they either seize your hand and criticise your nails or tell you that you clearly have problem skin. Now, it’s clear that I have been stupid enough to allow them to accost me and let me tell you, I think perhaps they’d make more sales if they learnt some tact. Cultural differences maybe? Being on the receiving end of somebody aggressively pointing to blemishes on my face and telling me that whatever I’m using isn’t working doesn’t put me in a buying mood. And then there is the temper tantrum when you say “not today thanks”. Seriously, sighing loudly, shaking your head and marching off doesn’t make me contemplate coming back when I am in a buying mood! In fact, it makes me want to invite them to go take a closer look at the supposedly miraculous mud at the bottom of the Dead Sea – without the benefit of a scuba kit.

Whenever I go into a shop that sells knick-knacks, china, crockery or vases, I always feel cumbersome and graceless and somewhat paranoid that I’m going to send entire shelves crashing to the ground with one swipe of my handbag. Irritatingly, these shops always have small pathways between the shelves and far too many things stacked on the shelves. Imagine my joy when I discovered that I’m not alone in my suffering. I was carefully tip-toeing my way around ceramic chickens, precariously stacked chinaware and entirely pointless knick-knacks (I think I discovered where C-Town’s nannas must shop – it was nanna home decorating knick-knack heaven!) I heard a series of crashes, saw flailing arms and a cascade of bits n bobs. The two women responsible for triggering the knick-knack tsunami shot embarrassed smiles around the shop, avoided the outraged gaze of the shop assistant and made a mad dash for the exit. I was right behind them – I didn’t want to catch the bad knick-knack ju-ju.

I then had the misfortune of encountering a La Roux wannabe who squeaked along to Bulletproof as it blasted over the shop PA. Seriously, how hard is it to remember that you should only sing in public in a karaoke bar or your friend’s car? If you are stupid enough to sing in public, please pick a song you can actually sing.

Frankly, I should become an agent for uniting C-town’s oddbods.The Israeli cosmetic company could have done with a faith-healing display – it would add something to their claims of mystic mud properties and the La Roux wannabe could have provided a soundtrack for the knick-knack bolters – it would have made their flight extra-exciting.

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