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I do not have The Mom’s flair for decor, at least not in quite the same way. And since I live over in the UK, and am on a sponsored visa (which means if I lose my job I have a mere twelve days in which to pack up my worldy possessions and head home), and move house frequently, I’ve been fairly good about not acquiring too much in the way of tat (though, my book buying habit will be the end of me).

That being said, time was, when I was happily ensconced in Toronto, safe in my residency, I did acquire rather a lot of stuff. Some of it was from shops, cute little things that amused me. But my main downfall has always been stationery. I remember that as a kid, there was this little shop that L’il Sis and I adored in one of the local strip malls. It was all stationery, but not just any stationery, the kind you might get in Japan. And thus was extremely coveted. Lots of Hello Kitty type stuff, of course, and other things too – frogs with names, pencil cases with glitter, pens that wrote in shiny ink, smelly pens, stickers, and all kinds of paper. To this day, when I’m in Toronto, there’s a certain shop I always make a point of going to in Koreatown that sells mostly the same stuff. For a 40-year-old woman, I have rather an excessive amount of writing paper with cute little owls and bunnies on it. I don’t know why I love this kind of stuff so much, but I do. I really do.

But over here, and outside of London, it’s tricker to find. This however does not mean Bristol is within its own twee tat. There are several shops up near where I work that seem to trade only in this kind of thing. You know, blankets and candles, and little cups with cute sayings on them, and little wooden signs with cheery sayings on them. Crap, basically. But the sort of crap that seems incredibly exciting at the point of purchase.

There is literally a ton of stuff that I could buy The Mom in every shop window. Case in point are the pewter pheasants. Theyr’e only £14. A bargain at the price. What has prevented me from buying them and schlepping them home is their weight. I struggle with overweight baggage (it’s just books I’m bringing with me as I loathe the idea of a Kindle-type device and spend 90% of my day attached to the laptop anyhow so figure it’s probably best to read actual books to save what’s left of my poor vision). Anyhow, I’ve taken to just taking pictures of things now, and sending them through.

My reasoning is that what we end up enjoying about these things is just looking at them anyway, so why bother buying them when a picture will suffice? And then it’s just easier without all the wrapping and carrying and storing and suchlike. And it lets me indulge my most indulgent self, too. Because though I would never actually buy The Mom a massive round pillow with a picture of an elk on it, it’s still funny. All the more funny because when I send it we get to imagine all the hilarious things that could happen but that probably wouldn’t. So we don’t have to be disappointed when the funny thing doesn’t happen. We can just imagine it.

This idea of just imagining things is my new favourite way to approach the world. Most things are never as good as I think they’ll be so I’ve decided to save myself the bitter disappointment by only fantasising about them. I fantasise about the food I can’t eat, the place I could go but probably won’t, the things I could do but that I probably won’t, it’s great fun. And you don’t even have to put pants on.

So maybe that’s what I’ll do for Christmas. Instead of buying my family a new wool jumper in a sensible colour, I’ll take a picture of the really weird thing I thought they might enjoy for five minutes and then we can just look at the pictures together.