You might think, as you saw me wearing a skirt made from furnishing fabric riding my cruiser with it's cork handlebars to the farmer's markets that my membership of the Portlandia fan club would be assured, but there's one key factor which forever disbars me from true Newcastle hipster status.
My love of the mall.
|Westfield Bondi Junction. You want to see me dizzy with happiness? Give me three hours here and a $250 gift card. Photo from Ad News.|
I betray my individualistic sistren by, rather than doing all my shopping in adorable little boutiques where the proprietor makes the stock themselves, having a decided soft spot for massive, sterile, air conditioned palaces of mindless consumerism. But they're so impersonal and anonymous, you say. Exactly.
I'm not sure extroverted people understand just how nerve-wracking shopping can be for those of us with anxiety. Walking into a tiny, personal little shop can be agonising, regardless of how adorable the merchandise. Small talk? Don't even go there. I like no one noticing or caring what I do or buy. I've noticed a lot of people don't like that. When I worked at a department store, a surprising number of people, without doing any browsing, would approach the counter, announce what they were after, and purchase the product staff showed them. Ugh, right? I like to make up my own damn mind and just walk out if something is wrong or too expensive.
Also I'm just a sucker for the glossy, polished lifestyle promised by these emporiums. Charlestown Square, rather run down at the time I left the area in 2007, has since had a massive upscale redevelopment, and I adore it, browsing in Tea Too and Peter Alexander and imagining the caramel scented magic will wear off on me. It's always been so. When my family moved from Sydney to Newcastle when I was nine, when asked what I would miss most, the unhesitating answer was "Warringah mall".
I'm glad there are individual retailers doing well. But when I'm not feeling very strong, I'm just not up to shopping at them. You'll find me wandering the corridors of conformity with a lobotomised glaze, mesmerised by the pretty colours and very happy.