Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tales From the Shopping Mall

Closing in on Christmas.

Couldn’t resist trading a few presents with hubby yesterday. Considering the fact that we’ve celebrated the publication of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as an excuse to open all the presents early (yeah, we opened everything on December 19that that year…), I think trading one small bit of gift this early is pretty prudent of us. Robert got me a Van Gogh action figure (with interchangeable heads—‘Sane Vincent’ and ‘Crazy-Cut-Off-My-Ear-For-A-Prostitute Vincent’) and some cool jelly bracelets from Man, if I could, I’d get one of everything from that place—I’m already making my list for the next gift giving extravaganza.

For my part, I got him Creative Cursing: A Mix 'n' Match Profanity Generator. I saw this book back in November when I was at my teacher conference and embarrassed myself by laughing loudly in the store. Had I money then, I would have gotten it there, but as it was, I was broke and could only dream of getting it. I Snapfished it, though, and when I was ready to start buying Christmas gifts I looked at my list and went looking for it. The two big chain bookstores here in town didn’t have it, nor did the smaller family-run Christian-esque bookstore (big surprise, I know…).


I packed up my purse, pulled on my big girl britches and drove to Tyler. On the Friday before Christmas. In Tyler. At the mall. In Tyler.

Did I mention I hate Tyler?

Did I mention I hate the mall?

Mom, Harrison and I went shopping, first at the bookstore and then at the mall (she had some Old Navy to buy, I had a Build-A-Bear outfit to get). I pissed off more than a few salespeople because I just don’t have patience for their BS sales pitches in general, much less when I’m being jostled around and people are breathing my air in a stuffy, overcrowded, noisy mall. I blew a sale for one such lady when she had almost convinced my mom—who is the least frou-frou-lotiony-girly-girl type person on the planet—to buy $40 worth of hand creams and exfoliators. The lady didn’t like it when mom asked if I had smelled the samples when I was walking by them in the corridor and I replied that no, I didn’t because I don’t make eye contact on purpose. When the woman continued the sales pitch to mom, I really annoyed her by telling mom, “You know you’re allowed to tell these folks ‘No,’ don’t you?” The final hard sell attempt she threw at us (“But look at her hands and how soft they are!” “Well, yeah, you just rubbed lotion on them—they’re going to be soft no matter what you’re selling!”) was the breaking point and I really think I saw smoke coming out of her ears. We beat a hasty retreat while I told mom how she could make her own exfoliators on the cheap (a spoonful of sugar or salt—really, any dissolving crystallized substance—with a dollop of any hand lotion that strikes your fancy, rubbing for a minute or two and then giving them a very brief rinse to get the grainy bits off).

The topper was trying to get out of the mall, which was my fault, really. I was trying to turn left onto a street that had lights at both ends but not at the exit from which I was currently trying to leave and lots of traffic coming from both directions. Oh, and we were locked into our lane with an island/curb thingy to our left and a lane of people who were smarter than I was since they were turning to the right at the street. We waited a full 10 minutes for three cars to pull out of our way before we could even get up and try our turn. When we finally did get to the street, we almost wrecked because someone was coming when I was trying to pull out and I had to slam my brakes on to avoid a collision. This, of course, left the front end of my van out in traffic (that was not in any way slowing down, even though I was half out in the street) and the car behind me was so far up my butt I couldn’t have reversed if I wanted to.

By the time we finally got out, I was sputtering about how much I hate the mall and I hate Tyler and how sorry I was to be saying that in front of Harrison because ‘hate’ is a forbidden word in our house but I just couldn’t see any way around it because I hated it all so much. My son, in a full show of solidarity replied (with quite a bit of gusto, I might add), “I HATE the mall, too, Mommy! And I HATE Tyler! And I HATE everything here…except for Chick-fil-A. Because they have good food.”

Hearing my five year old say that he hated something kind of brought me out of my tailspin—he really doesn’t say that word and to hear it come out of his mouth was akin to hearing him drop some F-bombs, so I was pretty quickly snapped back into focus. I replied to his exclamation of solidarity that I appreciated the support from him and that we were done with hating things and he agreed that that was a good idea. A few deep breaths and some Burger King for the drive home and we were all better.

But really, man, I HATE Tyler.

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