Walking through Dickson shopping centre today, I took a moment to browse in a little shop that sells odd Asian fashions. You know the sort -- lots of large clothes in shiny synthetic materials, lots of sequined things in very small sizes, cheap unsized Indian cotton pieces with elaborate stitching and some clothes that I can't even begin to describe because I'm not even sure which part of the body they are meant to fit. Sometimes you can find a little something that fits alarmingly well and lasts for ages, but you have to do a LOT of careful looking.
The woman who runs the shop started making random stabs at showing me things I might like, and eventually stopped when I told her to rest her feet because I'm very fussy. This caring attitude on my part must have struck a chord with her, because she rushed behind the counter, sat down and started massaging her head with a very odd contraption that looked like an electronic currycomb. I asked her what it was, and it turned out to be a type of acupuncture-y massagey thingy. I'm sorry I can't be more specific, but the shoplady's accent was very strong, and it was quite hard to understand exactly what she was talking about, but I want you to know that I listened quite sincerely and tried my best to understand.
This air of sincerity is actually one of my disabilities, because I have never learned the gentle art of stopping a conversation politely when I've had enough (unless I'm in a tearing rush) and this has led me into some staggeringly boring situations. This particular situation was not so much boring as positively alarming... as I nodded sympathetically over the headache she has been warding off since last night, she suddenly veered onto the subject of her period pain, and before I knew it, she was telling me that for 13 years until recently, when she discovered some marvellous new women's vitamin supplement, she'd had horrendous 'blobby' periods where she would think she was finished on the toilet but then she'd stand up and it would 'blat' out all over again!!!
Ah! Oh, Um, Yairs, I was politely saying, wondering how to nicely finish up and run to Woolies, when she started cupping her breasts and massaging them, telling me how sore they got every month and how they would change shape regularly. For one awful moment I thought she was going to ask me to prod one of them. Oh gosh, yairs, dreadful, I was saying, and in my head I was thinking GAH! HOW TO ESCAPE?
Some women came into the shop, and I thought this would be my chance, but she ignored them and leant forward, dropping her voice to a consipiratorial whisper. Now she was talking about her 'hot liver' that she was treating with Chinese herbs. She started massaging her stomach.
Luckily, my mobile phone beeped and I leapt at the excuse to check the phone outside the shop. I've never been so pleased to get a Telstra announcement in my life.
Either that poor shoplady is extremely lonely and starved of attention, or she has a very odd sales pitch! I'm starting to worry about even walking past the shop again now, and wonder if other people scuttling past there with their heads down are doing so for the same reason. I don't see many people in the shop usually, and now I think I know why!