Mrs Mearnsy goes shopping to East Kilbride
Mrs Mearnsy comes into her lounge, sits down on her favourite arm chair, looks into middle-distance and begins to talk. To you:
Well, what a day it has been. The Waterstone’s at the Cross was a little too dinky for my needs, so, against my better judgement, I headed to Waterstone’s in East Kilbride. I had heard great things about it – most tempting was the prospect of a Costa Coffee to myself and easy parking.
What harm could it do to leave the Mearns?
My oh my: changed days. I hadn’t been to The Plaza since the late 1980s! Quite a change. The Plaza has grown arms and legs. The whole place is like an octopus with malls as tentacles, each one covered in suckers.
One such sucker was me, as it turned out.
So, I got to the entrance to the parking to find that the car park was “full”. More “fool” me! Like a whippet, I whipped the ticket out when it finally let me in and I spiralled my way up the CentrePoint Multi. I then navigated my way down to the mall in front of Debenhams. All very pleasant. Spacious and shiny. And not too much in the way of riff-raff.
An hour later I was all loaded up with my shiny volumes from Waterstone’s, a double chocolate muffin consumed and I took my books back to the car.
My curiosity was out to kill a cat. One tentacle was not enough for me.
I set out again, past Next and Waterstone’s and into the grim underworld of “the next bit”: queues at Cash Machines, dim lighting and a narrowing of the mall so that the shoppers are funnelled into a dense and choking horde. “Don’t hang back with the brutes!”, Blanche wailed in my sub-conscious, and so I ploughed on, out of the other end, out into the nearest thing to fresh air available in an entirely synthetic recreation of a town centre – outside Marks and Spencers.
Which then provided a welcome flashback to the way things used to be. But, instead of a left turn into fresh air past the Tower Bar where I went to see Stephan Dennis perform (Don’t it make you feel good!) it was a left turn into another synthetic channel of shop fronts. Disney and a pound shop and a McDonalds.
I began to feel rather queasy. Did this mean that the chippy was also gone? I was totally disoriented. So much so that I stoated into another netherworld of the Princes Mall with its seasonal shops with no shop fittings who were taking cash only. I have to say, there were some impressive bargains, and I nearly bought a piano out of a charity shop – but I managed to restrain myself. I don’t know what Mr Mearnsy would have had to say about that, not after that incident with the bargain gazebo…
I could see a point of no return ahead of me, so I turned on my heels and fled back by the Tower Bar and into the sloping and glitzy Olympia Mall.
I made it as far as the Jam Shop and then I decided to head back to the car, down and down, into the darkness, then up again, into the light of the Debenhams entrance. Ahh. Free and clear.
Now, don’t think me a snob, oh no, but really, I just didn’t fit in with the other shoppers. Hours, hours, they must have spent on their hairstyles: taking hair from beyond the parting and into a cross-head shed. And as for the make-up! A trowel wouldn’t look at it. And the shopping outfits – there was a definite sense that a definite look had been gone for.
But I wasn’t convinced all this physical preparation was necessary. Successful, even. Or desireable.
I took my unkempt but uncomplicated self back to my car and headed for the orbital.
Maybe one day, I hope, Silverburn will get a decent book shop.
Mrs Mearnsy sits backwards, gently closes her eyes and folds her hands in her lap. As you look at her, you can’t help suspecting that she had her eyebrows threaded at a cart outside the Tower Bar.