There are few things in life I loathe more than shopping. It doesn’t matter what kind of store—supermarket, furniture, clothing, knickknack—it still grates on my nerves. I detest having to choose one thing when there are hundreds of options. On those few occasions I have to buy something, I know what I want before entering the store, I go right to the item, and I get out of the store as quickly as possible.
Luckily, my husband is fine with doing all the shopping for us. It’s one reason we get along so well; he gets to buy whatever he wants, and I could care less what he buys as long as he doesn’t drag me along.
There is one exception to this rule (isn’t there always at least one to every rule?) I have always been fascinated while browsing through hardware stores. Not shopping, I rarely go there to buy anything, but I enjoy checking out all the useful gadgets cramming the shelves.
When I was much younger, I would tell myself, “If I were stranded on a desert island, what would I take with me?” and then I would meander through the aisles, picking items that would be useful. I would imagine how my life would be, all alone, with all those tools and hammocks and seeds and whatnot. Sometimes it was an island, sometimes a cabin in the Alaskan wilderness, sometimes a deserted Buddhist temple deep in the jungle. It was always fun to imagine how different my life would be, and how comfortable I could make it with whatever I found in the store.
Now, of course, I have expanded that game. I create a pretend world in my novels, and then populate those pretend worlds with characters and events and situations that I see in the world around me. So I still wander around, picking and choosing who/what will be in my invented world. And I still find great joy in doing so, as long as I don’t have to buy anything.