25 July 2003
It occurred to me suddenly this morning, as I walked home in the rain, that internet shopping is really quite a lot like masturbation: it's comfortable, it's easy, it's convenient, and you don't have to walk home in the rain. But you don't get to touch, to smell, to spend time with the object of desire; nor many other double-entendres that I can't be troubled to put together. Mail-order shopping is efficient, and I do it when I have to, but it is just no fun. And also, of course, it's the opposite of spontaneous.
Or, in other words, I bought a pair of boots today. And before you ask, the answer's no: I did not need boots, I have boots in plenty. But can anyone ever have too much footwear? Or, indeed, enough? Beauty is boots, boots beauty; this is all we know, and all we ought to teach.
Anyway, I went into town on an errand of simple virtue, to collect an understamped letter and pay the shortfall. That letter seems incidentally to have put paid to a prospective trip to World FantasyCon in the States this year, but the trip was problematic anyway, so ne'er mind. I'm not really using that as an excuse.
What actually happened, being as I was in town anyway, of course I dropped into the bookshops, how not? And of course I check my own titles when I'm in there, as a matter of routine; and Waterstone's had actually sold a couple of copies of Outremer. Great excitement, Chazzie bounces next door into Fenwick's - and comes out ten minutes later with a pair of Rockport Machame limited-edition black boots. Spontaneity, seduction, sudden irresistible attraction: I love it. Sale price, of course, plus an extra discount for being Chaz, but even so this is something of an over-reaction to seeing a couple of paperbacks sold. It could never happen without the real thing there to snare the eye, to be fondled and played with and lingered over and tried on. I love my computer and I love my post, but neither one of them is a substitute for shopping.
© Chaz Brenchley 2003
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.