It has been really miserable weather here in Christchurch for the last, oh, two weeks [substitute "what feels like eternity"], except for a few days of spring-like sunshine and warmth, which I think made it even worse - just as you begin to defrost a little and to think that maybe this will last, BOOM! back comes the rain, the sleet, the hail, the rain and more rain. We've even had snow but it didn't settle on the waterlogged ground.
Last year this was all kind of fun, because I was living at home with my dad, with (a) zero appreciation of power bills, (b) heated towel rails and such-like, (c) a new-ish house, (d) a clothes dryer, and (e) a car. This year, I have none of the above. My flatmates and I even have rules about not using heaters and so on. I have discovered that freezing cold living quarters are not all that bad if you dress up warm, but no matter how many items of clothing you are wearing, it is impossible to be comfortable if you have cold hands and feet. Fingerless gloves have made studying a whole lot easier, but my feet are ALWAYS COLD.
So, despite the horrific weather today, I went to the mall, for the purpose of investing in WARM SOCKS. My umbrella broke on the way, my jeans got soaked up to the shins, but I no longer have cold feet. I also have very cute feet because this time I didn't get boring black socks.
It turns out that half of Christchurch was at Riccarton Mall today - or so it seemed. And this brings me (in a very circuitous way) to the main point of this blog post:
1) Walking through the mall.
A brisk yet measured walk should be the order of the day. If you are stopping as you go to gaze at shop displays, keep to the left. However, if you are wandering aimlessly through the mall simply because it is heated and you had nothing else to do, it is polite to either keep out of other people's way, or to walk at a more bearable pace for the people behind you. Exceptions will be made for the elderly or those with impediments such as crutches, which brings us to another rule of etiquette: be patient in cases where a slow walk really cannot be helped.
If you are one of a gaggle of teenage girls, try to remember not to walk five- or six-abreast. You are giving your age group a bad reputation.
If you are a teenage boy, repeat this mantra: "Be civilised. Be civilised." Do NOT start beating up another random kid with your friends (as I was unlucky enough to witness). It's not impressive, and the mall, which is not the bad part of town on a Saturday night, is not the ideal location for you to go all Stone Age.
2) The clothes stores.
When I was wandering round the women's clothes department at Farmers today, I became what is termed "boxed in" in dancing and shopping terminology. This simple diagram may explain my predicament.
X O X
O ALLIE O
X O X
[Where X = shopper and O = clothing stand.]
If you are shopping - please! Look out for potential "Allie"s. Don't fence them in. Remember, to them, you are just another shopper, and if you don't listen to "excuse me"s and continue to get in their way, they may take out their frustration on you. Instead, pull aside - perhaps with an apologetic smile - and let them out.
3) The changing rooms.
When it's a busy day, and there is a line of shoppers waiting at the changing rooms entrance, do not - I repeat - do NOT walk in, blithely ignoring the "Limit 4 garments" sign, and proceed to sit your boyfriend/girlfriends outside your door, subjecting each of the 12 items you are trying on to a detailed analysis in front of the mirror at the end of the hall. When you are finished with your garments, hang them on the rack that has been left there for that purpose - do NOT leave them lying all over the changing room so that the next customer has to either hang them up or walk all over them.
So! Hopefully that has all been cleared up, and now we can all actually enjoy the mall.