My holiday shopping secret
(it involves beans)
I struggle with shopping. Farmers markets, craft fairs and shopping malls all have the same impact on me. I get overwhelmed by the crowds. I get distracted by everything that’s going on. Most of all, I get physically tripped up by the proximity of others.
Sure, the global pandemic has helped. Me wheeling around and glaring at the person standing close to me has justified my hostility a bit. And there are still times it’s not enough.
Once, while shopping at a major Canadian retailer I couldn’t shake someone. They likely were not a loss prevention officer. They were just someone who always seemed to be looking for EXACTLY the same things I was looking for. Everywhere I went, they followed. What’s worse, they would stand behind me.
On a preverbal level, having someone looking over my shoulder is never a good experience. I tense up. I start to sweat. I stop thinking about the thing I’m doing. All my focus shifts to “How the hell do I get rid of this person?”
This particular person on this particular day was constantly around me. That day, I had eaten beans and rice as a side dish with my lunch. These beans were fast acting. The gas in my gut was present, pressurized and ready. I farted. Loudly. It was a stinky one.
The shoulder shopper? They did not like my sound. They did not delight in my scent. Their jaw dropped. Their face turned red. They wanted to speak. Instead? They turned and left. The shoulder shopper was dispatched post-haste. I continued my shopping in peace. My weaponized lack of shame was highly successful.
I learned something important that day. Seemingly shameful, anti social behaviour can be an effective way of gaining space in a public place. Sure, it might be ‘better’ or ‘more reasonable’ to politely talk to people and let them know that they’re standing too close.
I’ve noticed that a lot of shoulder shoppers are neither kind nor reasonable. They have the December shopping blinders on and in full effect. As such, as someone with a sensitivity to people in my bubble, I always arm myself before holiday shopping.
Bean and broccoli salad, eggs and a bit of dairy - just to get my stomach a bit upset - before heading to the shops. Now? I’m ready. I don’t always fart when people stand too close to me. Not always, but I try.
So that’s my holiday gift to you. If you want more space in the shops this holiday season, go out gassy and be prepared to fart loudly.
It just might save your life.