Friday, December 23, 2011

No, But I'm About to Stop

Somehow it came to pass that I departed our house to go shopping tonight around 6pm. Now in order to truly understand the absurdity of this, you need to realize that when asked point blank by Danielle "When was the last time you went shopping in a mall" I was unable to even remember any such occasion since we moved down here (so at least two years). It literally was probably two years ago for Christmas, but I cannot even clearly remember that...well, as a matter of fact as I'm writing this I'm having PTSD style flashbacks of last Christmas bumbling around the Spectrum trying to find something..was it a hat? I don't know. Anyway, fast forward to 5 hours ago and I'm at the mall because two people were forgotten. And that's the real KITN, those last two people, because as soon as you buy for them you know what? Two more pop up. There are always more people you COULD buy gifts for; always. Somebody is always at the top of the list. I imagine inviting people to your wedding is like this; at some point you have to make the decision that you are inviting N people and Billy Bob and his wife are N+1 and N+2 and that's just that. So anyway I drive to a restaurant to buy a gift certificate for someone (I thought this person was already handled, and I spent 7:30 to 10:30 doing that portion of his gift, but that's neither here nor there) and that goes well. It's a mall with pretty much only restaurants, and it's just a freaking ghost town up in there. Great, phase 1 complete. Now it's off to See's Candies to buy Peanut Brittle for Danielle's Grandmother, who was currently at the top of the "get a gift for" list. I found one nearby and was on the way there and...almost gave up. I realized I was heading literally into the belly of the beast, the Main Place Mall in Santa Ana. It took me 20 minutes to park, and when I did find that pristine empty space I felt as though I was having a religious experience of some sort. As I said to Danielle "Look babe, it's pretty straight forward. We've got an empty parking spot and Occam's Razor. Under the current circumstances those basically add up to proof that God exists." So I parked, but not in the garage (that was a big mistake going into that fucking garage, let me tell you...I almost just abandoned my car, assuming I could get back to it before anybody figured out how to tow it) and walked vaguely toward the red dot on my phone (by the way, the GPS used to work a lot for some reason it always thinks I'm on road) and entered...Macy's. Sweet fucking Christ it was a mad house. Three dirty looks and one perhaps slightly bruised old lady later I emerged into the actual mall and found a directory. And then, for a brief moment, the power of THE MALL and CHRISTMAS almost overtook even me, one of the most rational and frugal people you will ever meet. I found myself thinking "well, I am here...perhaps there are other things that I need. After all, it could be years before I have an opportunity to buy such fineries again." I swear to God I was like Frodo trying to throw the ring into the volcano. Anyway, I found the directory and for once in my life (again, more circumstantial evidence pointing towards the existence of God) I read the thing correctly and turned the right way but there was not a stairway in site (and you're out of your fucking mind if you think I was waiting for the elevator...1400 people were waiting for that thing...if I was on the second floor trying to get the first I'd honestly consider jumping as a viable alternative). Eventually I found an escalator sorta hidden back behind the food court and got up to the second floor and I could see the See's Candies. At this point only seventy three thousand people remained between me and victory, and I considered the fact that many of them were rather small and weak....anyway. I got into the store and quickly obtained my desired purchases and...stood in line for 10 minutes. Apparently there was another register right by the entrance but I literally could not move to get to it because the store was that full of people. So I waited in the line of people hand selecting every truffle that was going to go into their box of chocolates and eventually, just before my breaking point, got the register. The woman helping me was pleasant enough, and asked me how I was doing. I did not respond instantly because for once the lie just seemed too much to tell. This is the Holidays, after all. I cannot just go around lying to random strangers. So I turned my eyes up to her and said simply "I'm going to make it." She smiled and nodded in appreciation, then replied kindly "So you're almost done?" The words cut me like a knife, making me realize that now two knew people had just moved to the top of the gift buying list. She could immediately tell that something was wrong and waited patiently for my response.

"No. But I'm about to stop"

1 comment:

Dave said...

I like the Frodo analogy, because you do remind me somewhat of a hobbit.

Regarding wedding invitations, it's not even as easy as you describe. You basically divide all of your friends up into tiers, which requires ranking them. If you've chosen a place with limited capacity, you might even have an "alternate" list for people that you invite after you get some "no" RSVPs. I remember giving my parents a list of their friends and asking them to rank them. Tons of fun, let me tell you.

P.S. You were #132. (Just kidding.)