Where I speak "your" dirty lil' mind!

Growing (up) Pains (Me, So I Don’t)


“Grab us a cart and let’s go!”, I heard as her blurry form shot past me and through the sliding-glass doors of Psycho-City, or Hyper-Town… I forget which.

The nice man frisking my underarms and buttocks for any tell-tale bulges that might indicate a desire to kill myself and those around me, shot me a sympathetic smile of understanding.

He’d seen hundreds of men like me being silently herded though those very portals everyday and knew that soon, we’d be mindlessly tailing our significant others through the labyrinth of display shelves awaiting us inside.

“Like the latest thing in donkey-carts with engines in the trunk,” grumbled my snarky but impotent ego. “But also like a Porsche!” my helpful-yet-over-addled imagination piped up.

Hmm… maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all.

I caught up to the apple-of-my-eye as she eyed apples in the fresh produce section.

“I wanna’ drive!” I blurted out, when she reached for the cart.

Long since accustomed to my schizo sojourns from reality, with an indulgent shrug of her shoulders and instructions NOT to dawdle or stray too far away, she moved on to dairy. .

“Stop treating me like a child, Woman!!” I shouted back at her – wordlessly, of course, as I executed a perfect 360 in my brand new 911 Carrera Turbo. Time for a test drive, oh yeah!

“Let’s see how she handles corners at speed,” I thought to myself.

In my head, I imagined the whine of the engine behind me as I abruptly dropped two gears in anticipation of the sharp, ninety-degree turn at the intersection of household disinfectants/sanitary-ware and toiletries/hair care.

I froze only momentarily as a wide expanse of burkha-clad behind loomed large to greet me around the bend, yet I responded with racing instincts reminiscent of Schumacher (No, not him! the other one).

With split-second timing and precision I pulled on the hand-brakes and swerved to avoid imminent disaster – ok, ok, so I pushed down on the orange bar thingy and just prayed– but it was fate. My cart headed down the aisle as I slipped on the floor and ploughed into my hapless victim…

before it all went black.

I was brought to my senses by her shout of outrage, and then I realized that I was flat on my back with my face under a rather sizeable ladies’ burkha.

Extricating myself from the dark recesses of her garb, I emerged, unscathed but gasping for air.

My floundering, half-babbled apologies were evidently not having the desired effect, and her initial shocked indignance had by now been replaced with loud allegations of some fairly kinky perversions on my part. Foregoing further explanations and platitudes, I decided to make my escape, Bond-like, from the circumstances in which I found myself. You know, just in case there was a husband, or worse, doting mother nearby.

Using my superior male instincts of direction and bearing (don’t mean to brag here but not once have I ever needed to ask somebody for directions. I always eventually reach where I was supposed to be, by myself) I drew a mental map for retrieving my wayward shopping cart later, and beat a stealthy but hasty retreat from the scene of my crime.

I was finally able to laugh at myself and was thanking God for the lack of witnesses to my humiliation, when the phone rang. Its sharp trill reverberated across the marble tiles and seemed especially loud in the stall I’d selected as my… umm safe-house, as it were, in the men’s washroom

“Where the hell are you?” thundered the mellifluous tones of her voice from the little speaker in my phone. “I don’t know why I brought you here in the first place if you can’t even be trusted to push a shopping cart without…”

Hmm… Shift focus from evasive maneuvers to damage control immediately.

“Wag the dog, boy. Wag the dog!” said a voice in my head.

“Just looking at some curtains for the bedroom, Jaan”, I proffered sweetly, aiming for the absurd to shock and awe. Why not? Dubyah did it.

Still, I suspected I would need to supplement my inherent charm for this one.

“Let’s meet at the gelato stand. Or how about the furniture department upstairs, you know, where they let you have a go at that massage chair you like so much. Hmm?

“Cut the crap and meet me by the changing rooms,” she snapped, the tone of her voice softening to the “you’re-still-in-shit” range. “We’re buying you trousers.”

A perfunctory scan peeping through two inches of open doorway revealed all to be clear when I left my bunker. As I made my way to the men’s department, I remembered the primary objective behind today’s outing and mentally prepared my argument against discarding my favourite denims, or the need to “update” my wardrobe.

“They’re not old, they’re CLASSIC jeans. They don’t make these anymore.”

“No, not torn, ripped at the knees. That’s khewl!”

I decided to forgo the bit about the knee-holes providing testicular ventilation during auto rides. Women don’t seem to understand that sort of thing.

“Where’s the cart, and all our shopping?” was her opener, and I knew right then that it was bye-bye Levi Strauss.

“I, umm, had an accident.”

“Can’t wait to hear this one,” she said as she jostled me towards the changing room and handed me three pairs of trousers to try on.

Now, I hate wearing trousers. It comes from something that happened to me way back in school…

There was an arcane regulation in place, which stipulated that wearing trousers was (for some reason) a privilege, earned only once one entered the hallowed eleventh grade.

As a result, puberty was an exceptionally traumatic transition for us boys. We sounded like frogs in heat (with our voices going through various stages of “cracking”) and were sprouting only random patches of wispy hair on our faces while boasting about the kind of goatees we thought we were growing.

Having to exaggerate our freakishness by parading around in “knickers” seemed like a punishment designed solely for humiliation.

Then came the fateful day when I finally clambered onto the school bus as a trouser-clad “senior”. Mindful of my new status in the school hierarchy, I sauntered to the very back of the bus, where, tradition dictated, only the “seniors” might sit.

What happened next involved a loose screw on the metal frame of my seat snagging on my new pantaloons, and an ill-fated bump in the road which launched everybody at the back of the bus a good six inches into the air.

I was sure that the sound of the rip that followed was heard around the world.

Needless to say I did not attend classes that day, and except for a brief visit to the school tailor, I spent the rest of the day behind the squash courts, nurturing my nicotine dependency and trying to look “cool” in those new trousers.

I like to think that I’ve grown since then, but I still feel naked in those things.

I stepped out of the changing rooms glumly, hoping she’d find some flaw in the fit or colour, desperate to crawl back into the cocoon of my thick, heavy Levis.

“See what I mean?” was all she said as she stepped in behind me in the mirror. “You look so good. Smart, but like you don’t give a damn about what others think. I think that’s sooo sexy.”

Sexy, hunh?

Rrreally? Well… maybe just a couple of pairs then, just too keep her happy. They say that we all have to make some compromises in our relationships.

These do look good though, don’t they?

“There’s nothing wrong with dressing your age. I just wish you’d listen to me when I tell you that you’re not eighteen anymore yadayadayada….”

…and her voice faded back into that familiar white noise as we made our way towards the check-out counters.

As we passed the children’s department, I watched as a young boy sat behind the wheel of a miniature Humvee and tore through in-store traffic.

Seeing him then, and the memory of my own recent adventure, it all came together for me.

She had a point. I really was too old to be mimicking that child’s behavior at my age.

And I felt the curtain start to draw on my own childhood as I looked away.

… just then, I saw something I’d almost missed!

It was the box, big and bright red, which snared me.

Is that a helicopter? A fully-functional, remote-controlled chopper!?

I didn’t know they had these here…

Just think of all the practical applications, I thought; we’d never need to dust the house, and if I can just tweak the range on this thing, we might never have to actually walk the dogs again either.

had to have a closer look.

“Grow up!” was all she said, and the ‘no-nonsense’ tug at my elbow told me it was time to leave.

  1. *“Just looking at some curtains for the bedroom, Jaan”, I proffered sweetly, aiming for the absurd to shock and awe. Why not? Dubyah did it.*

    how did you even imagine it would work? we’re women. we dont buy your bullshit. and she is too smart a woman to have bought that…

    • Halyo?!

      i AM a “little” bit smarter in real-life…

      … this was a piece of fiction 😀

  2. noooo. we are not that bad. most times i’m the dawdler. who zones out and keeps going round and round in the detergent section. and ya, there are times when i try and be like my mom, and compare prices and stuff before i buy stuff. then i take hours n hours because i’m dyslexic and can’t remember numbers.

    thank got its fiction. phew. don’t feel so bad about myself.

    • @ AgG – Well… it’s “fiction” only so far as it’s an exaggerated memory drawn from “real life”


      … and I’ve been “medically diagnosed” as Slikdexic too…

      I think we manage just fine.

  3. awesome writing here…and shall i tell u a secret i too drive the carts at malls 😉

  4. Yes this makes you sound like you should be sitting in one of the carts like you see so often in those places 😛

    the most incongruous sentences are the funniest here:D “It all went black” for example 😛

  5. So my husband and son have separate car collections. Vicky is not allowed to play with the boy’s cars and the boy is not allowed to even touch Vicky’s. That says a lot, I think, given that one is 3 and the other 33.

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