Boxing Match err Day!
(An article by Vinita KInra, Editor, GAT)
Sports have never been so entertaining, especially boxing. Traditionally described as a combat between two people to test strength, speed, reflexes, endurance and will, by throwing punches at each other, usually with gloved hands, the vicious game of bleeding faces and black-blue eyes takes on an even murkier twist on the 26th of December every year.
Boxing Day is not a true namesake of the sport of boxing, nor is it a day to honour broad-bodied athletic boxers who allow themselves to be treated as punching bags. It was named after the traditional “Christmas Box” received by servants or tradespeople from their bosses, and was celebrated as a holiday following Christmas.
However, Boxing Day is no different from a Boxing Match, maybe even more gruelling. Young and old put on their combat gear of gloves, toques, scarves and coats to fight not only oceans of shoppers, but also wild winter weather. Stores brace themselves to compete by advertising bigger and better promotions than their peers. The only place that sits back and relaxes is the Food Court. All offerings are equally welcome. Preferences pale as Greek food lovers queue up for a quick hamburger if the line is moving faster at that restaurant. The breakfast corner slaps loafs together to serve sandwich lunches to famished bargain hunters. Coffee machines cough and spit bubbles of froth on uncountable thirsty cups and smoothie makers chill out in fruity colours.
This refuelling station is busy without the bother of offering lucrative sales. Weary customers scarcely care about not getting a “Buy 2 get 1 free!” combo special at the Thai food kitchen. They know they can save more cash on food and clothes if their tummies are not grumbling.
After this inevitable intermission, phase II of the battle begins. War cries come in all shapes and sizes, from shrill infant wailings to annoying burglar alarms. Seasoned jostlers bite dust as crashing crowds push from every direction. Anger sets in and common courtesies are replaced by offensive obscenities. Then butts in the shameless queue breaker who quickly becomes the scapepig and guineagoat of mass ire after hybrid voices pound pitilessly. Raucous resumes and chaos continues as the cold-bloodied culprit is forced to the end of the queue that meanders around coat hangers and sweater sales.
The best sight-seeing enclosures in this zoo are the ladies’ shoe stores. Here, the man witnesses the gorilla and chimp combined in his girl, firsthand. She jumps from one pair to the next, scratching her head, sometimes falling to all fours after wearing stilettos in one foot and flats in the other. Now he realizes why she fell “head over heels” in love with him when he gifted her pair of designer pumps during their first date. He gives her a hand; she clutches it without emotion, her eyes focused on the leather boots a female customer is trying on. She lies in ambush and grabs them as soon as the woman discards them on the floor.
Men are no selfless saints. Their alter ego is dancing all around I, me and Mac, even though their faces remain inscrutable. They carry multiple mega-pound shopping bags for their women in the hope of leading them to the “I Store”. Here, in exchange for a couple hundred dollars, they get a feather-weight bag carrying a sleek I phone or I pad. The bag is as light as his wallet, and possibly, his chequing account. She touches the pads of her fingers while he sweats secretly. He knows the mental math would conclude that all her heavy shopping bags cost a fraction of his touch-screen indulgence. He says he’s hungry and the woman advances a golden-green banana in his direction, implying subtly that he just blew their restaurant budget with his palm-sized purchase.
The commute back home in the packed subway is rather subdued. Peering into the over-sized shopping bags, your wonder if you really needed to stock up on a “bed in a bag,” or buy the extra “9-piece-saucepan-set-with-lids” only because it was 40% off.
When the new black dress has been worn once, and some eggs boiled in one of the nine saucepans with a lid, fearful eyes look out the window, relieved that the mailman didn’t stop by your house. But if you’re among the new breed of online bankers, the e-bills will be hard to avoid.
Soon enough, you warm up for another type of Boxing Match, played using your telephone and a toll free number of your credit card company!