150 Days

Day 14
November 16, 2009, 6:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Unfortunately, today was the first day for Christmas shopping. It’s early, which isn’t really my style, however the purpose of being early (I’m told) is to beat the rush and take advantage of the retail selection. After spending 45 minutes trying to find a parking spot, I’m not convinced this is actually true. Today’s visit to the mall should be a quick one. I have a general idea of what I need, so it should be a targeted retail operation – no longer than 1 hour, preferrable 25 minutes.

My parents call just after I arrive at the mall. On my way out today I asked what they wanted for Christmas. “Nothing…actually I think there is one thing we want…what was that one thing we wanted again?”(conversation goes on to explore various options and discussions that may or may not have happened in the previous weeks). They are calling because they must have finally remembered what it was they were thinking of. A Panini maker. Obscure, but simple, I don’t challenge the choice and head directly to the department store. It just so happens these appliances are on sale, which is a bonus, so I snap one up and the cashier jams it in a bag. Now I have a forty-pound Panini maker in a plastic bag. As I leave the store and smash some poor lady in the back of her knees with my oversized shopping bag, I realize that buying this item first was just stupid.

Too proud to go to my car, I tell my wife that I’ll just carry the Panini maker – hoping that my anguish will assist me in exiting this mall within my one hour deadline. As so often occurs during these situations, my wife has omitted the fact that she had additional plans to shop beyond the short list of original items I was given. I should have known, this is a classic tactic used by most women to extend their visit to retail paradise. As we browse through shoe stores packed with screaming teenagers, clothing stores with arrogant sales clerks and odd holiday stores that sell wooden replicas of reindeer, elves and holly, the only consolation to my increasing misery is the Panini maker at my side. It continues to abuse all who stand in its way. The number of bystanders who are throwing looks of hatred in my direction is substantial. I’m pretty sure it un-intentionally knocked the arm off a manikin as I tried to manoeuvre it away from a lady’s stroller.

Seven hours have passed. The forty pound Panini maker feels like a Volkswagen. It is now accompanied by six or seven other bags that hold bundles of holiday joy for those who will be given them in a few weeks. I am barely hanging on. There is only goal now – to leave. I’m not even mentally present, I’m a vessel holding bags accompanying a women through the mall. Only as we approach the exit do I arrive and notice it is dark outside. Perhaps it’s been longer and a whole day has passed. A day I will never get back.

Only 136 days left.


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