As I take my ticket on the way in and drive down the ramp I’m reminded of Dante’s Inferno. I circle further downwards, following car upon car into the bowels of the building and the 9 circles of hell feel ominously close.
Emerging from the car park into the dazzling shop lighting I’m quickly reminded of why I hate clothes shopping. The enormity of choice makes even the items that I like look unappealing. There are people and buggies and children everywhere…it’s like an obstacle course with no finish line. Clothes and shoes are picked up at random before being discarded into heaps that bear no resemblance to the neat pile from whence they came
With the words of my sister echoing in my head,telling me to just try a few things on, I take an armful of clothes to the long snaking queue for the changing room and join an ant-like procession towards the front, each person scrolling mindlessly through their phones.
When my turn finally comes the analogy of hell again resurfaces. Oh Lord the heat! Swelteringly warm dressing cubicles await, tiny rooms where the sins of your past are laid bare. Those numerous glasses of wine, those ‘so late in the night they don’t count’ tortillas, and the cheese…all the cheese, telling tales on you when you need them to be silent, to disappear. And the smell…oh my days, the smell is like a form of assault, akin to what you would expect in the changing rooms after a GAA match in 30 degrees of heat. It’s as though everyone coming here today had decided to experiment with the notion of a deodorant free life…
A hilarious discussion is taking place in the cubicle next to mine. Two young girls are trying to determine if the 20 tops, 14 pairs of shorts, combined with the 12 dresses will be enough for their week long holiday. There is also a lively debate about whether a sleeveless bodysuit will double up as both a swimsuit and, with one of the aforementioned pairs of shorts, as a going-out top so as not to waste drinking time having to go home from the beach to change. I make a mental note to never allow my children to holiday with their friends, well not until they are at least in their thirties!
We have now moved through the circle of both greed and gluttony and are careering towards anger at an unseemly speed.
Having rejected all but a few of the items I join yet another snaking queue to pay.
I take a deep sigh of relief when I finally get back to my car and I have to resist the urge to drive at breakneck speed out of there.
Finally I’m out, feeling that part of my soul has been lost. I hope beyond hope that it will be a long time again before I have to return.
Dundrum shopping centre…where hope came to die.