We were all out “shopping” at the mall. Actually, “shopping” is a euphemism for walking around from shop to shop looking at their windows, going inside and buying nothing at all, or on a rare occasion buying something totally unnecessary just because it makes one feel better.
Personally, I’ve never understood the female’s need for window shopping. We males tend to be more direct. We know what we want; we go to the shop and buy it. What could be simpler than that?
But on this occasion we had Aunt Gertrude with us. She’s been staying with us for a (long) while whilst holidaying from Australia, and it was decided to show her the new shopping center which opened not so long ago in a nearby city.
As usual, I decided to sit on one of the benches specifically placed in the mall for bored husbands who’d rather read a newspaper in peace. They all went from shop to shop and agreed to return in about an hour or so. Can you imagine that? A whole hour of peace without Aunt Gertrude’s grating Australian accent hurting my ears!
When they returned proudly showing all the nonsense they had bought … I mean, who needs yet another cardigan … Aunt Gertrude asked us to wait for about fifteen minutes as she wanted to visit the “dunny” just down the corridor.
We waited … and waited … and waited … We sent out a search party to the ladies to see if she was there. She wasn’t. We split up and went in different directions searching different shops. She wasn’t in any of them either. We widened the search and agreed to keep in contact by cell-phones. She was no where to be found.
As my heart started to gladden at the thought that perhaps she had gone back to Australia I heard her screeching accent from the doorway of my favorite fast-food outlet.
She was standing there with a vagrant in dirty torn clothing and she was arguing with the fast-food store manager. As I approached them she shouted loud enough to be heard back in Adelaide. “Look here cobber … if this place is bad enough for them beatniks to eat in, it is bad enough for him also!”
I asked her what was going on. She replied “This reptile cum manager does not want to let us in!”
The manager recognized me as one of his regulars and let me deal with the matter. Apparently, the poor beggar had asked Auntie for a few pence for a cup of tea, and she decided to treat him to a full meal instead. But the manager would not allow him in dressed like this.
I explained to the manager that she was an eccentric family member visiting from Australia and I did not see why I should be the only one to suffer her unusual antics. He agreed to let us in on this occasion. So I phoned the rest of the family and we enjoyed a great meal.
Guess who paid? Me!!!
Why is Auntie’s generosity always costing me dear? To be fair, she did buy me a stupid cardigan.