I’m sitting here poppets, with a glass of champagne (left over from our Solstice celebration last night) and you can stick a fork in me, because I am done.  Now, I’m not technically done, I’m pretty far from done. There’s knitting left to knit and the wrapping, mercy… I can’t even talk about the wrapping, but this morning I forayed out and made my annual military style strike on the mall, and while I was there, I got done. Let me back up. Last night was the solstice, and it was a thing of beauty. I lit the ice lanterns and every candle in the house, and made a simple supper, and then the knitters came, and we had the grandest time.

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The whole time, I was filled with the loveliest sense of calm. My friends, the candles, the cozy long night… I woke up this morning fortified, and sure that the season would go off as it should.  I have another finished pair of socks (I’m behind, but at least that’s done)

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and I did what we always do on the Solstice – I got online and made all our charitable donations for the year. It’s tradition for us, I always feel so lucky and blessed on the Solstice. Lucky to live in such a peaceful and wealthy country, lucky to have a family that’s safe and healthy… lucky to have the resources to make things nice for everyone. it feels right to spread it around on this day.  (This years recipients were The Bike Rally (that’s a link to my page, if you’re feeling a little solstice joy) and Spread the Net, MSF, and Because I am a girl.  I was so heartened by all of this, that I took my little list of things left to do, and left for the mall feeling…. not too bad about it at all.

I hate the mall. It’s everything I dislike about this season all rolled into one, and the crowds get me, and the parking gets me, and the lighting in the place gets me… but it remains the best way to buy 12 unrelated things, and so once a year, I go there, and i shop. I go with a plan, I go with a list, and I go with speed.   I was there, and I’d bought just about everything I needed, and I was hot, and I was crabby, and I was hungry, and I just needed a few more stocking type things for Joe, and I was in The Bay. The Bay is a fine Canadian institution, and not a bad place to try and wrap up loose ends, and that’s what I was trying to do.  I was shopping, but I didn’t know for what, and the whole thing felt like it had fallen apart into a wild jaunt through a commercial nightmare, and it should have been that that was when I went home. I should have looked at myself, looked at my budget, looked at how very much I’d gotten already, and I should have left. Right that minute, but I swear that the air is funny in that place, and I couldn’t think right, and so I was rushing up the escalator towards… I don’t know what (which should have been another clue) and I came off the escalator at a thousand miles an hour, and in front of me was this.

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You can see the escalator I came up right there, and you can see these mannequins with their arms stuck right out.  See it? Well, I didn’t. i came off the escalator, and the woman right behind me said “Oh CAREFUL” and I didn’t register it was directed at me, and I ran straight into the outstretched hand of the first mannequin. Took it right in the head.  I hit it with all the force of a woman undone by shopping. I ran straight into it, clotheslined myself, reeled backwards, and then fell down. Backwards, like in a movie.

The woman rushed over and asked if I was OK, and then a guy came over and said “Holy (*^%. You really ran into that!” (Thanks buddy. Hadn’t noticed.) I sort of staggered up, and said “I’m ok. I’m ok” and prepared to flee  (I am exactly the sort of person who has extensive experience with embarrassing situations of all types) and snatched up my scattered packages, all while insisting I was fine (with the big handprint of the mannequin on my forehead) and the lady and the guy started handing me my things and saying things like “Oh Wow, that’s going to leave a mark” and just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, the guy says “Um, I think you spilled all your….” and I look down, and the bag that had contained ten pairs of panties (complete with lace, in bright colours) has ruptured, and strewn festive ladies undergarments all over the floor.

We picked them up together, and stuffed them into my purse, and I stood there for a minute, looking around to see if I’d dropped anything else. The guy wandered off, the lady asked me one more time if I was quite sure I was all right (I totally was) and in a heartbeat, I realized I was done. Shopping or not, Christmas or not… I was done. I went to the car, and I drove the hell home, and when I got here, I poured myself that glass of champagne.

I’m done, or undone. I’ll deal with whatever that means tomorrow. I’m going to knit now.