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I survived end of the world – and the Christmas shopping

• It was with some relief that I woke up on Friday to learn that the world had not ended.

The relief was short-lived. I turned on the radio and the blue skies filled in as I learnt that nurses were unhappy and there was much consternation in far-flung parts of our planet.

It also dawned on me that, thanks to the Mayan miscalculations, I no longer had an excuse not to enter the city fray and embark on that most demonic pursuit: Christmas shopping.

As I was elbowed around sundry shopping aisles, it also occurred to me that this particular pursuit – the seasonal spending spree – is a perverse way of demonstrating goodwill and fellowship.

Undaunted, I battled on. I went from arcade to mall, mezzanine to basement in fruitless pursuit of something meaningful to give to those who I am lucky enough to have in my life.

Books? I bought some, and all manner of shiny necessities that are unlikely to be taken from the box once the sacred transaction of handing over has been performed.

I trundled on through teeming streets and saw faces lost in the confusion of the rush to buy trifles for their cherished ones.

It was nice to be part of this frenzy of well-intentioned consumerism, even if the collateral damage in needless purchases of socks and jocks was incalculable.

I had blown a good bit of my last pay cheque, which would have to see me into the bleak mid-January, when I heard a voice from down below.

"Any spare change?"

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So bewildered was I by my tumble through the town's department tills that I almost asked him if he took Visa.

I still had a few coins among all the useless receipts in my pocket. I tossed them into his cup. "Merry Christmas," he said.

D O'Brien
Dalkey, Co Dublin

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