What Are You Looking For?

15 Mar

by Maribel Steel

“I thought you said you only wanted perfume?” Mike reminds me as he drags behind.

”We won’t be long,” I trill, the white cane tapping with a jolly rhythm. “We might as well look at handbags while we are here.”

“Right. Handbags,” announces Harry as we arrive among the field of leather goods. “What exactly are you looking for?”

“A Spanish leather bag.”

“Are you crazy?” pipes up Mike. We are in a shop FULL of handbags.”

In haste to curb the onset of a mother-son argument in public, Harry steps closer to Mike, displaying admirable solidarity by resting a calm hand upon my son’s shoulder, saying to me, “You have to understand. We don’t mind helping you to find a handbag among this minefield of bags, but you have to tell us exactly what you are looking for, or we could be here all day.”

I hold back my response of, fine by me…but I sense the fire- breathing teenager by his side is about to explode if we don’t exit this consumer maze very soon.

“Well, maybe a brown one – or…no, red would be nice, but maybe a black one, black goes with everything,” I add, trying to be concise.

“Which is it? Brown, red, black?”

“I don’t really know until I feel it. It needs to feel right.”

“How about this one?” Mike thrusts a brown bag into my hands.

“No. It’s not the right shape.”

Mike looks up at Harry. “She said brown?”

“Or red or black,” I hiss, sensing busy shoppers milling around us. I can’t bear being parked to one side without being allowed to touch one single item so, unguarded, I move towards a shelf and plunge my hands into the confined space.

“Mum!” scolds my son, picking up the expensive leather debris all around us.

“Darling.” Harry grabs my arm, speaking slowly through gritted teeth, ”Just explain what colour bag you prefer. How big you like it, what shape and texture.”

While my companions spend the next hour looking on my behalf for just the ‘right’ bag, I learned one important fact: that men and women really do come from different planets when it comes to making choices. A bloke wants to know all the engineering specifications up front (size, shape, colour, texture, width and diameter) whereas a woman is open to the seed of possibility, the initial idea growing organically as her choices grow (which is strangely misunderstood as changing her mind), to see what takes her fancy, choosing something completely different to her original idea.

“I give up,” says Harry.

“I’m starving,” glares Mike.

I’m over it too. The shopping anaesthetic had well and truly worn off and only a comforting strong café au lait could restore the harmony required for us all to remember why we had come to Barcelona in the first place.

Maribel Steel is a writer, blogger, mother and singer who lives in Melbourne, Australia. As a person with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she believes her life is about learning to trust her other senses: to hear, to touch, to smell, to intuit, to love and to laugh.  You can view this full story and more of Maribel’s thoughts and experiences on her blog and visit her website at www.maribelsteel.com .


One Response to “What Are You Looking For?”

  1. Sandra April 15, 2013 at 1:35 PM #

    I love it! I had my husband read this. You nailed it! It

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