Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Shopping Mania

I went to the shopping mall recently with a friend to buy a new dress for a wedding she was attending. She's the type that you really have no choice but to drop everything and accompany, because a true crime against humanity could occur if she was left to her own devices. You would no sooner let this friend pick out her own dress than you would allow your two year old vacation at Disney World unattended, it's just not done.

In any event, as I was doing this selfless act of charity, I had a lot of time on my hands, mostly spent standing outside dressing room doors. I was able to observe some truly suprising sociological trends. Clearly there are some very different philosophies on shopping out there. I couldn’t believe the number of women in "outfits" and stilettos at the mall. I guess I never noticed this before. Why are women dressing up to go to a mall? To impress the other chicks? To catch the eye of the Mall Walking Seniors brigade?

In my mind, shopping is an athletic event. It calls for easy on, easy off clothing (ok yes, specifically a velour sweat suit), and tennis shoes. And it calls for Focus. As in, going shopping should never be construed as code for "let's eat". I've never been a big eating/shopping combo type girl, but since I have had a child, the mere logistics of getting out the door Without Said Child calls for the event to be carefully planned and time, absolutely maximized. No matter how many weekend bachelor parties my husband goes away for or how many months his nighttime intramural league runs, he seemingly has no recollection of all my single parenting whenever I tell him I want to go shopping with the girls (maybe three time a year). It turns into An Ordeal, where he finally gives in saying "Fine! Go Go" and actually, I believe, pouts.

So I finally escape into the car with my girlfriend(s) after all of the drama to leave the house, visions of racks of clothes I can speed walk through sensing the fabric and fit with the tips of my fingertips, planning to cover 10 maybe 15 stores, when inevitably one of them turns to me and says "are you hungry?". It never fails, which is why I've developed somewhat of a reputation for being anti-hunger-friendly. If I have 3 hours to do 4 months of shopping, I do not want to spend it dawdling in a bistro. Dawdling in a Bistro is a perfectly legitimate activity if that is what you set out to do. But not if you set out to buy new leather boots because yours have holes in the bottom and your socks are constantly wet.

I will hesitate before responding, my teeth grinding audibly, and the friend will usually start to back off realizing their mistake. They will say things like "oh ok, well let's just go through Taco Bell, then huh? Ok?" And I will, with the warmth of an Ice Queen, say "Fine.", still internally calculating the diversions cost in time. And they will say, "What do you want?" And if I am starving to death I will say, "Nothing.". Because it’s the principal really.

Speaking of shopping, I had this incredible idea recently to do all my Christmas shopping in November this year. This would replace my pathetic arguments to my relatives and friends in mid December where, after realizing that I, who refuses to stand in long check out lines, have no hope of getting gifts out in time, argues that Christmas is out of control and we shouldn’t exchange gifts this year. Yes, I know it makes sense for adults, but even I, who propagates this argument, have to admit its pretty lame not to get my young nieces and nephews anything. Or my son for that matter.

Imagine my surprise when I ventured out in November to find the stores packed! I felt violated in a way. Sort of like the time I came up with the idea of a device that you could attach to pets or children that would sound an alarm if they fell into a pool, and which I did nothing about, and 6 years later it came out in stores. So, pretty much like my idea was stolen! So much for early shopping. It looks like I will have to shop the internet, which for some reason makes me obsessive about price as I comparison shop across 10 sites and spend a half hour searching online for promo codes for a $20 item. I wonder how long it will take me to get frustrated with that...maybe I should just begin writing...

"Dear Friends and Family,

I've been thinking..."

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