flashback: in the window

Outside the day has gone dark. Every now and then a cricket sounds a note, as if tuning its instrument, just so, for the evening’s performance. Inside the house there is the sound of cupboard doors opening and closing, mixing with faint noises of cloth moving as several hands grab a sweater. An air of excitement follows the feet running for the front door. Then. . . four children burst through, shocking the night creatures into silence. They chase and jostle each other, competing to be the first at the car. For some strange reason it matters who gets in first.

At a pace befitting their role as parents, Mom and Dad make their way to the car. Someone had to make sure that all the windows and doors are secured after all! And so the journey starts, with kids of different ages and gender crammed into the back of an old Cortina. The parents in front pretend not to hear the sibling squabbling going on in the back, for this is supposed to be a fun outing!

There is no traffic this time of day, and yet Dad is taking his time, cruising with the family, down one street and up the next. Even if the distance is short, it feels like ages before the car comes to a stop. Oh! There it is! Looking up the road ahead one can see lots and lots of stores and smaller shops. They are easy to distinguish by the lights shining from their windows. Those lights, brighter in the hush of night, are calling to every young adventurer.

All is quiet after a busy day and only a few people are strolling up and down the street. With a stern warning from Mom and Dad to stay close, the family sets off to enjoy the wonder that is called: Window Shopping!

Oh what joy to go from one window to the next, being amazed at everything you can see, yet can’t afford. Most windows have pretty displays, organized in just the right way that one might imagine how good it will be to own everything that you see. Others are only a window, but one that allows you to see all the way to the back, giving your eyes the chance to dance over every object it can find. Not enough time to take everything in though, because another’s feet is itching to beat you in finding the next “treasure”.

But there are only so many windows, and it is quite a let-down when the parents call to go.

– – – – –

When I drive home from work late at night I pass a few shops with lit windows and it reminds me of these childhood adventures. I also realized that I don’t see a lot of window displays these days. Instead people put up posters advertising their goods. And jewelry stores don’t display their offerings after closing times either. All for practical reasons of course, but it really takes all the fun out of window shopping.

01.10.2010

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3 thoughts on “flashback: in the window

  1. Wow, that brings back memories for me too, Clouded. Growing up in a small town in Namibia, my Gran used to take us for an early evening stroll ‘around the block’ [it was usually more than just a block!], and we’d look at window displays too… and in summer, we usually bought a soft-ice in a cone from the corner shop… unforgettable, happy times.

    We can’t do that where we live now, though we do go walking ‘around the block’ in our neighbourhood, joining people walking their dogs, parents with young children, joggers… It is also nice, but it’s not the same.

    • Isn’t it great how we remember those times?!

      Yes, I agree that neighbourhood strolls just isn’t the same as the olden days’ window shopping. And one also can’t do “proper” window shopping in a mall – which is where most shops are located these days. A person could get trampled if you slow down too much during business hours and after hours it is just plain eery – if you can get inside to wander around, that is. ; -)

    • You’re right, most shopping malls are locked up after hours. And if they’re almost empty of people, except for the odd security guard, they definitely are eerie! Same with multilevel parking areas… man, talk about creepy… there’s been so many terrifying movie-scenes shot in those, that you almost can’t help yourself looking over your shoulder and walking really fast!

      I hate walking around malls… I only go to them when I have no other choice, because the shops from which we need to get stuff are *inside* the malls. My tolerance levels for crowds are low, and when you have to keep dodging around people or sidestepping shopping trolleys or prams, I just want to get out of there and go somewhere quiet.

      The only up-side of malls is that you don’t have to worry about parking. You can leave your car in one spot and access all the shops you need, without having to move your car all the time to find a free parking bay, without self-appointed parking attendants hassling you. Sigh…

      But I do miss those small town centres, where you can amble around, leisurely stopping to look at window displays, or finding a shady spot to have a cup of tea with your best friend and to do some people-watching in the open air… Sigh…

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