I thought I knew what I was doing. I’ve been shopping by myself lots of times, mostly without incident. Granted, there’s been the occasional oversight (and who amongst us hasn’t forgotten to get dishwashing tablets for several weeks in row?), but mostly I do a pretty good job. It was, in retrospect, over-confidence that was my undoing. That’s how I ended up with ‘European pillowcases’, but no European pillows.
Diamonds may well be forever, but the same can’t be said for doona covers. Although, that said, I for one would gladly shell out thirty dollars for a ticket and a bucket of popcorn to see James Bond in ‘Doonas Are Forever’. But, inevitably, there moral fabric of your doona cover will surrender and a great big gaping hole will open up. You’re minding your own business when you hear it rip and there’s no turning back – the doona cover is blown and it’s time to get a new one.
I strode into the bedding store with a sense of purpose. Browsing is for weaklings. I wasn’t there to waste time, sniffling around like a two-legged truffle-pig. No way. I was there to hunt, gather and get out of there in the shortest time possible. When the staff offered to assist, I waved them away. With great intent, I strode across the shop floor towards a stack of doona covers that reached right up to the ceiling. In the event that I was unexpectedly locked inside, I could use the doona cover tower to climb my way to freedom through the ceiling tiles.
Because I’m nothing if not a creature of habit, I looked for something as close to my old doona design as possible. That’s what led me to ‘Berlin Waffle’. Not only did it look good; it put me in a mind to have a second breakfast. Within moments, I had selected the right size and turned to begin the march to the cash register when I found myself pausing for a moment. Having found my ‘Berlin Waffle’ doona cover in record time, I decided to build on my success and get some new pillowcases too. It would be a total refresh. What could be better? Little did I know the kind of trouble I was letting myself in for.
I got three new pillowcases – also in ‘Berlin Waffle’ – to complement the doona cover. As I dumped an armful of bedding on the front counter, I could tell that the staff were super-impressed with my efforts. It was only upon returning home that my mistake became obvious – I had purchased European pillowcases. I was unaware that ‘European pillow cases’ were even a thing. Most people would, at that point, return to the point of purchase and request an exchange, but I sensed that I had totally burned my bridges and felt it unlikely that I could ever show my face there again.
The whole notion of a ‘European pillow’ has thrown me completely. The cases are gigantic, and looking at the picture on the back (which, admittedly, would have been a good idea whilst I was still standing in the shop), I could see that the pillows themselves are nothing short of huge. It’s hard to imagine a head big enough to warrant such a pillow.
The size of the thing is decidedly ‘off-brand’. A ‘European laundry’ is basically a cupboard with whitegoods shoved in, whereas a ‘European pillow’ looks like something stuntmen might land on after they’ve thrown themselves off a building. This glaring inconsistency has caused me to question the very notion of geographically specific products. I’ll never look at English ham, French mustard or a Dutch oven in quite the same way again. The next time I get cut off in traffic and someone gives me a ‘Scotch Finger’; I won’t know what to think.
Having decided to keep three gigantic ‘European pillowcases’, I decided that the only thing I could do is get myself some enormous pillows. This time, when I was offered help, I decided to take it and I can simply say that the range of options was as broad as the pillows themselves.
It’s not often that you can put an exact dollar figure on your mistakes. European pillows started at about thirty dollars, with the top end of the range going for something more like one hundred and seventy dollars. The premium version was called ‘Super Goose Deluxe’ which, as it happens, was my nickname in high school. Despite this, I opted for the cheaper model.
Let me say now that it’s hard to steer a shopping trolley when it’s stuffed full of gigantic pillows. It’s like being stuck behind clouds. Upon getting home, I stuffed the European pillows into the European pillowcases and then, once I’d put them down, wondered where the bed has gone. The person to pillow ratio in my house has now fundamentally altered in favour of the pillows. There’s no turning back now.
I like to think of myself as self-sufficient, capable to solving most problems for myself. But recent events have given me cause to reconsider. Clearly, I am not quite the urban survivalist I thought I was. I know I need to do better but I’m not sure how. There must be some lesson I can learn, some chance for self-improvement. It’ll come to me. I’ll just have to sleep on it. On my gigantic pillow. Sweet dreams.