Nearly exactly a year ago, at the tipping point between early- and mid-December, I forgot to go Christmas shopping. There must have been something good on TV.
Every year, faced with the prospect of engaging in pitched battle with my fellow shoppers throughout the month of December, I seem to make the resolution to do all the shopping in July, thus freeing myself from active duty and sparing myself more bloodshed.
But now, conditioned as I am by the plangent strains of seasonal piped-in musak which insinuates its ineluctable Christmas music through radio and digital channels, I suddenly realize that I am five months late for Springing into Action. My plan has failed, and I must to war.
Godspeed and good luck to us all.
It is a strange sort of war that awaits us. We will sit all day in offices and at desks, waiting for the moment to Rise to the Occasion. From different vantage points all over Belgrade, we converge on the bridges. From the center, we drive urgently to reach New Belgrade. From New Belgrade, we light out for the center. No matter where we are, when it comes to the moment of shopping, we are in the WRONG place. We must reach the bridges.
Most of the war is about sitting in traffic. Sun Tsu never mentioned anything about this.
Once we come ashore in the shopping zone - the Ušće Shopping Center for example - it is then that all of our planning and research are thrown out the window. At 18:00, the shopping battlefield is fully populated with what seems to be 78% of Belgrade. People are pushing in every direction with a great deal of force. Elbows and shoulders are employed to cut paths through the throng. No matter where you want to go, 180 people are stridently streaming the other way. You duck into Terranova to regroup.
In July this would have been SO easy...
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