It is that time between Christmas and New Year. A strange sort of non-time where you can’t remember what day it is. I heard it referred to as ‘crimbo limbo’ on the radio today during the interminable drive back from My Mothers, which I thought summed it up rather well. There is still the odd mince pie lurking about, and T.V. listings crammed full of nauseating childrens films, but elsewhere things have returned pretty much to normal. That is to say shop opening times have – the break from rampant consumerism becoming shorter every year, or so it seems.
Which begs the question: Why the pre-christmas stockpiling of loo roll? No really, why? The week before Christmas seems to induce something of a communal Pavlovian response in a huge chunk of the great British public. I imagine people waking on the first morning of the week preceding yuletide, consumed with an anxiety they can’t name. And then suddenly, simultaneously, having a mass eureka moment.
‘Shall we just buy loads and loads of loo roll?’ they say to their partners, flatmates, dogs. ‘I know, I’ve got an idea. Let’s buy loads of loo roll!’. To which surely, their significant others must reply: ‘Yes, lets’. Whole families seduced by the idea of bumper packs of Andrex. Entire communities compelled to panic buy four-ply.
Nearly every trolley pusher I jostle for space with on my Christmas food shop is similarly affected by this anally inspired ration anxiety. I want to put my arm around them. I want to comfort them. ‘It’s ok’ I imagine myself saying. ‘The shops are only shut for one day. One day. You can do it – you will be alright. Just how many people are you expecting for xmas dinner anyway?’