Monday, December 06, 2010
Hell's a Crowd
On Saturday I went into Montpellier to the marché de Noel. What a nightmare that was. I had to take PetitCon in the car to the tram as he and my eldest do martial arts together. As his mum often does the taxi run, I felt somewhat obliged to do it this time or else he couldn't go. Damn! This is the kid who is a manipulative catalyst for trouble and has been previously banned from my house. He's been recently re-banned since he took the utility room door half off its hinges and left it hanging.
The tram was already crowded when we got on so I had to stand and unfortunately found myself by a group of young women who thought it would be fun not only to share their tinny musical tastes with the rest of us, but also to sing and clap along. I wished I'd taken the car, my eldest suggested we should have taken the car, and a woman opposite looked like she wished she'd taken her car. Other people's alien joviality when you are snarling and standing is guaranteed to enrage.
So, thus enraged, we got off the damned tram and were thrust into the throng of happy market-goers all weaving their way slowly in front of us, going against the flow, tripping us up with pushchairs and standing in groups in the middle of narrow paths chatting. There was a lot of black - black coats, black jackets, black boots, black temper (me).
I was looking for specific items; I had not come to dawdle in search of pressie ideas. I should have gone early, but my eldest needed warm clothes from his favourite shop for which he needed me and my credit card, so there I was, not feeling Christmassy at all, trying to buy Christmas pressies. Most of the place de la Comedie was taken up by little wooden chalets which housed sellers of crafts, meat products in tins, chocolates, and all manner of tempting goodies. There was some thumping beat that must have driven the stall holder nuts coming from a band that was thudding out non-Christmassy music. When they weren't on, there was a continual mass of sound from a loud-speaker telling us how marvellous everything was, that they'd found some poor lost child or poor lost child's parents or that we should try the mulled wine etc. It was all noise.
I was looking for my usual purveyor of glacé fruit. Last year, the stall was called Les Délices de some girl's name so round we went, my youngest and I, in search of his stand. To keep his spirits up, my youngest got me to buy him a sweet sticky lollipop and was happy to slurp and crunch his way trailing behind me as I got crosser and crosser. On circuit 3, I decided that the stall called Les Délices d'Autrefois must be the one and went to order glacé clementines and marrons glacés for my mother. I was too irritated to enter into a jolly chat about whether he'd changed the name or was someone else entirely.
My youngest then suggested we go to Polygone, the mall, and visit C&A before my eldest arrived and took us to Bizzbee. Polygone was also packed, but luckily C&A was an oasis of calm (tough for them, good for me!) and that made buying him an snug sweatshirt quite pleasant. My eldest arrived, guffawed at the idea of shopping in C&A and took us to Bizzbee where we battled our way into the tiny spaces of the store which was doing a roaring trade as they'd sent all their clients an SMS declaring 50% off the second item. I'm not telling you that PetitCon bought both of them a Diet Coke each and my son chucked half of his over a rack of clothes because he was trying to find his store card...
At last, the hell was over, we could leave AND I got a seat on the tram because people were obviously still pouring in a lot more than they were pouring out. Relief! We got home to the smell of freshly baked bread - I'd set the machine on before we went to have it ready for our return.
It was not an auspicious start to the Christmas season, but I don't think I'll have to go in again. The rest of my shopping will be done in the peace and quiet of my room on the internet. I was even too irritated to buy a cup of mulled wine, so you can tell, it MUST have been real hell!