AFTER discovering the laws of motion, renowned scientist Isaac Newton proudly announced to the world, "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". Well, duh.
Call that a news flash? Obviously Mrs Newton did the Christmas shopping in that household.
The laws of motion apply to shopping, especially Christmas shopping, more than any other activity in the universe.
The 'action' bit involves standing for hours on end in countless queues trying not to count the money you're spending on presents that the kids probably won't like or appreciate.
The 'reaction' comes after (or sometimes before) the pressies are opened and the recipients have deemed everything either too big, too small, too hard, too soft or too daggy and you're back in those same shops facing even longer queues losing even more hours of your life as you return the items you purchased before the whole silly season started.
Christmas may well be the season of giving, but in my house it is also the season of returning.
What with all the schlepping up and back to the shops for the pre-Christmas sales, Boxing Day massacre sales and post-Christmas returns I'm nearly ready to surrender my visa and go somewhere quiet and lie down come New Year's Day.
This week, I confess, for a woman who lives to shop, I came close to completely losing it.
I spent ages behind the wheel of my car cruising for a parking possie, feeling like a stalker as I drove behind every weary, parcel-laden shopper in the hope of scoring their spot.
Finally, I found a park and headed into the shops for a few rounds of return roulette.
Return roulette is where you have to stand in front of a busy sales counter and admit you bought the wrong size, colour or shape because you have no idea what shape or size your kids are and you are now having second thoughts about putting the gifts you bought under the tree.
Once I returned to the car with a new armful of pressies I had a new problem.
For reasons best known to themselves, someone had parked their car so close to mine that no amount of sucking it in, or wishing I hadn't eaten one too many mince pies at the neighbourhood Christmas party was going to see me squeeze in between their car and mine to make it to my driver's seat.
And with only a 5cm gap between my car and a big, black 4-wheel drive on the passenger side, things weren't looking hopeful in that direction either.
I think the technical term for what happened to me is 'parked in'.
Luckily we have a station wagon.
Humming the music from Mission Impossible I lifted the back door thingy and managed to hoick my rear end into the rear end of the car and then flop over onto the back seat.
Getting into the front seat proved a more difficult operation.
I misjudged the height of the console (and the width of my bum) and ended up with one leg either side of the handbrake with sweat dripping from my forehead and some choice words dripping from my tongue before making my final manoeuvre and plopping down into the driver's seat.
Be warned - for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction - and when I get hold of the person who parked me in I will happily demonstrate the validity of Mr Newton's law.
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