ON A recent trip to Sydney I was derailed by a trend that fortunately does not seem to have reached good ol' Lismore. I went to buy some flowers for a friend who was unwell.
"Gift?” asked the young woman in the shop.
"Yes,” I replied little knowing that I was now audience to an elaborate rigmarole. The flowers were whisked off to a rustic long wooden table, gently spread out, and then fondly caressed in preparation for a lengthy wrapping process in especially chosen paper. A process that culminated in the extensive tying and retying of a raffia bow until it was just 'right' that took close to 10 minutes. I wasn't in a hurry but really? She handed them to me and said sweetly, "you have a beautiful day.” "You too,” I replied insincerely thinking couldn't I just have the flowers. I was willing to pay less and skip the performance. I proceeded to the market as I was hungry and wanted something for lunch. I spotted some quiche-looking thing and asked for it. The person behind the counter embarked on a lengthy explanation of the provenance of the said quiche: where the grains had come from, the level of gluten, the free rangeness and organicity of the eggs and the integrity of the vegetables, the quality of the land on which they grew - before asking if I wanted it heated in the air fryer. Dazed and confused, blood sugar dropping rapidly, I said yes and another 10 minutes elapsed before I was allowed to have the quiche which clearly had a better pedigree than me. It's possible I snatched it from her hand. Just like the scene from the film Love Actually when Alan Rickman's character tries, and fails, to buy something speedily from shop assistant Rowan Atkinson. I just wanted to buy the thing. I went home and reflected on either rudeness or sweetness that got up my nose. Maybe I should just calm down and exhibit the good manners, I was taught, instead of sighing with exasperation at some sweet young thing wrapping my floral gift. If someone wants to tell me of the glacier fed streams that nourish the succulent grasses where deliriously happy lambs frolic, perhaps I should just shut up and show gratitude and, even harder for me, patience.
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