Friday, July 27, 2007

High Heels in the DIY store

Yesterday after work, I went out shopping with my lovely boyfriend, Bob. He's just moved into his new house - which is all very exciting - so we are still getting extra little bits and bobs (no pun intended!) for his home.

One of the things on the list was an extension lead for Bob's bedroom, so he can watch TV in bed (oh, the decadence!). Which meant a trip into B and Q - a cavernous warehouse full of DIY stuff and a place where many non-DIYers fear to tread (me included...)

It's easy to get unnerved in this Temple of All Things Manual. The aisles are seemingly never-ending, there appears to be no logic to the order in which items are arranged and, with all the paths almost identical, you quickly lose your sense of direction... I'm not proud to admit it, but I've had more than one panic attack in B and Q stores. My ex-husband used it as a form of torture sometimes, I swear - he'd instruct me to find something and would go careering off in the opposite direction, leaving me alone, disoriented and lost in a sea of DIY products. And woe betide me if I came back empty-handed...

There are shop assistants in B and Q. But they are strange, disconnected - almost ethereal - beings. They walk around in bright orange aprons, marching purposefully towards unspecific destinations, avoiding eye contact with any poor, unfortunate lost person, to ensure they are not distracted from their mission. In any other shop, someone in a uniform walking round the store usually means they're willing to help you. But not in B and Q. Oh no. Ask an orange-aproned temple guard a question there and it's like the whole warehouse falls silent in shock... A million eyes zoom in on you. A wisp of loft insulation blows along one of the aisles. Somewhere, way in the back of the store, a doorbell tolls. The answer you wil receive will be curt and icy-cold, a hand waived dismissively in a general direction, before the assistant hurries away - leaving you alone to face the unbridled scorn of B and Q's learned customers...

So, you can understand the considerable trepidation with which I approached the Mecca Of Handymen yesterday... Especially when I remembered that, as I had gone shopping straight after work, I was still wearing my gorgeous new kitten-heeled shoes from Monsoon with my office clothes. This was going to be a mighty challenge for my sparkly Optimism Gene (TM) - how was I going to blend effortlessly into the hushed, reverent shopping atmosphere when my every heel click would be heard echoing through the palatial hall?

But, do you know what? I actually found it amusing - and quite liberating, in fact - to click-clack proudly round the store. I kept thinking, "I am the only person in high heels in B and Q - that makes me unique!"

Sometimes, it's good to stand out. It's taken me a long time to learn this, after years of feeling crushing embarassment in various scenarios. Yesterday made me think that it can be fun to proclaim your difference to the world, instead of hiding away in shame.

The Eternal Optimist is back in da house!


Keith's Ramblings said...

The only people I see in B&Q are hairy, splattered with paint, with a pencil behind their ear!I've never looked to see if they are wearing heals!
Great article. I came across you on Gimme's site, and I've seen your name on Helium. Keep up the good work!

Miranda Dickinson said...

Great to meet you, Keith! Thanks for visiting my site and for your kind words! x

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