Monday, June 15, 2009

Joy of not-shopping

Sunday I went shopping with my daughter Diana. I "needed" a smaller dining table, because I'm getting a new gas heater. Shape of room, location of heater etc. meant my table was now too large. So I thought.

We had a fine time, including lunch at the French Market, and eventually found just the table. One more shop, just for luck, and it all fell apart. An intelligent salesperson cocked her head when we rejected one table as too large. "Why do you say it's too large?" she asked. "If you have a long table, you don't have to seat anyone at the ends. So it may take up less space, including the people, than a small table."


After all that earnest shopping, something dawned on me. My very large table was fine. It was the chairs that were the problem. They always seemed awkward, so we can't seat three a side comfortably. My posh chairs are always jangling and crashing against each other, spoiling sociable dinners. They colonise the carpet and attack the legs of other chairs.

Back home, I measured up. Sure enough, the chair legs splay out by 10 cm in two directions. I shoved two into the equivalent of a dark cupboard and promoted two little wooden folding chairs, relics of the 1940s Rigg Zschokke social hall. I love them. They are so cute. And they free up a lot of elbow room and leg room.

All this was fun, but the biggest thrill is that moment when I realise: No! I don't need to buy a new table! I spent nothing! I saved about $1500! The Not-Shopping-Aha-Moment is an exquisite chocolate rush.

That night I dreamed an Indian feast. Scores of people at an ashram, seated on the ground around bright cloths spread with yummy dishes. Goodwill and good cheer. Everyone wearing brilliant colours. No tables required.

The dream was a second reward for not-shopping. Perfect.

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