Similar to every other girl on the entire planet, I love to shop. I enjoy my time spent at any random mall with a cheap Icee in my hands and a credit card in my bag, happy to be among strangers who I don’t have to even make eye contact with. Maybe this is what makes what I like about shopping a little different than what other people do– I like that I can aimlessly browse shelves with really no solid motives at all and no one will pester me. This is also why I am the guru of online shopping– I like to find things cheaply and easily, pay with a card with a beach scene on it, and then go about my day– all within five minutes.
This is why I wasn’t really excited today to go to the San Lorenzo marketplace in Florence outside of the San Lorenzo church to actually find specific things- Christmas gifts! Usually, this important task is reserved for my best friend eBay.com, where I can grab a ton of crap at once, have it gift wrapped and shipped to my house, and then I don’t have to worry about it until December 25.
Like anything else in Italy, though, shopping is not an independent activity. And you know what? This is nice. This is refreshing. I am used to some sulky teenager snapping her gum and trolling Facebook while swiping my card from behind the counter for some mass-produced piece of junk I found on the sale rack. In the San Lorenzo market, vendors will tell you how they handmade their little journals and which ones are their favorite. They will tell you that the guy selling them down the street is kind of a douschebag. They will whisper their deals in your ear and tell you not to tell anyone else, and they will tell you that you have beautiful eyes and they will be able to guess every place you have ever lived based on the way you walk and the way you talk.
Is this quietly stalking through the mall on a Sunday afternoon? No, no it is not. But this is something better– this is making friends with students like you who study Interior Design, who will tell you the best bars to go to and beg you to come back tomorrow, and will remember your name when you do. This is Italy, where unlike in the United States, the people outnumber the credit cards.