But instead of doing that, I went Christmas shopping by myself. On a Saturday. To the mall. The mall that just opened a phalanx of fancy new stores. For five hours. I should have just paid someone to shoot me.
I must have been on crack, or swallowed some Aqua Dots, because I usually avoid the mall in general, especially on a Saturday, with the grand opening of all those fancy stores a mere week in the past. This weekend was no better; it was like Grand Opening II: The Plastic is Burning.
You see, Rob was home with the children, and that alone was incentive enough for me to head for the hills. The children hate shopping, I hate shopping with them, and so the whole escapade turns into one giant lose-lose situation. Every trip to the mall with the children includes these three things: vehement, hissed whisper-yelling through gritted teeth; greasy soft pretzels from the Auntie Anne's pretzel stand knock-off; and an urgent trip to the disgusting "family restroom" nestled deep in the creepy back corridors of the mall. I am usually informed of the necessity of this trip when I am finally next in line for the register, naturally. The child in question then hops and moans and clutches all through the transaction, which includes at least one item that is not properly tagged and requires a price check. The whole trip is a study in exhaustion.
I try not to even start shopping until after Thanksgiving, but this year I've got too much going on to wait. We usually get together with Rob's family for a party and gift exchange during one of the weekends before Christmas. It's fun and it gives everyone a chance to be in their own homes and not travel on Christmas if they choose, but it also means that I need to get my act together and make sure that I have all the gifts for my in-laws first.
As always, Rob was unfailingly generous when I told him that I needed to
I will cut to the chase and tell you that I did get a good chunk of shopping out of the way, but it wasn't pretty. People were surly, lines were long, parking spaces were few and far between, and we haven't even hit crunch time yet, my friends. I did manage to retreat to the bookstore for some hot chocolate and in-depth US Weekly magazine perusal, and I stayed for forty-five minutes. Forty-five whole minutes of sitting at one table, drinking a beverage while it was still hot, and not wiping a single thing off of myself or the person next to me. It was heavenly, and I felt sufficiently fortified to face the throngs again.
As I left the bookstore, I held the door for a woman who was wearing her lingerie as a shirt. This was not a real-shirt-that-looked-like-lingerie kind of shirt. This was a satiny teddy. In forty degree weather. With high waisted, acid washed jeans. While still wondering about her choice of fashion, I was almost trampled by a gaggle of teenage girls who were wearing skin tight, midriff baring tee shirts while hugging their arms and complaining about the cold. Where are Stacy and Clinton when you need them?!
While I walked to the car, I could hear an engine slow behind me and I turned and saw that I was being tailed all the way to my parking spot, which was so far out that it might have been in the next county. I waddled my way there, turning every once in a while to see a woman my age chatting on the phone while she trolled along in my wake. It was like a scene from Shark Week and I was the chum.
I knew, as I pulled out of the parking lot and saw a car almost hit someone pulling out of another space, that I was done with the mall. I am turning to the internet, even though I loathe paying shipping for an item I can get at a store a few miles down the road. When Christmas shopping becomes a near occasion of sin for me - when I have to fight temptations to anger, greed, unfair judgements, pride - I'm willing to pay a little shipping and handling for some peace.