Friday, December 14, 2012

To the Rest of the World...We Are Not as Crazy as We Seem...Maybe.

(Note:  This event and the writing about it happened days before the Oregon tragedy.)

I had a list...somewhere...I thought...looking for that wrinkled yellow paper torn from my notepad and now lying hidden beneath a wallet, a small camera, hand lotion, a pocket calendar, and stale gum deep in the bottom of my purse.  I must use the list or I will kick into that addictive mode where I keep buying gifts for loved ones as if that could make them love me more or longer.  I MUST STICK TO THE LIST!

I look around the mall filled with dazed shoppers and resigned children carrying bags of all shapes and sizes.  Down the center of the mall are young minimum wage employees standing expectantly outside their kiosks wishing to dab something on my hand or allow me to play with some automated toy.  They stand intensely watching for potential customers or absently texting wishing they were anywhere but here before displays of woven scarves or silver jewelry or brightly colored cell-phone cases.  I silently say a prayer (to whomever) that they make it through the season with a little more money than they had hoped for.  They deserve some reward after spending days rubbing lotion on old ladies hands.

Sighing to myself,  I have given up on the list.  I do remember my son asking for shirts and sweaters in medium and I turn to hubby and direct him away from watching some flying toy toward the large department store at the very end of the mall.  It will be a trek and an obstacle course, but we will get there.

Surprisingly, the men's clothing section in the back of the store is not in total disarray.  Shelves are neat and reasonably full of stock.  Some of the sale prices are very good.  I peruse tables avoiding the cream cheese golf look and the expensive European brands and turn toward the edgier clothing to match my son's 'rock star' personality.  After all, he texted yesterday that he will be opening for Sublime with Rome...whoever in the hell they are!  Striped shirts with thin bright bands or shiny black buttons which I match to a more subdued but very soft pullover sweater are my selections.

As I turn toward the checkout a tall woman about my age is standing just to my left.  She turns to the (Indian/Pakistani?) girl behind the counter and asks if the shirt she is holding out is more blue or more purple.  The girl hesitates and then answers "Purple" with a distinct un-American accent.  Then the woman pulls up a bright lime green shirt, and looking at both the girl and I, asks if we think it is too bright.  The girl demures clearly not sure what answer her customer is looking for.

I think her question is naive, but I tactlessly respond.  "Depends on the personality of the man you are giving it to.  Is he bold with personality or more conservative?"   She doesn't answer but tucks the shirt under her arm and then turns to me again with the blue/purple shirt and asks if I think it is blue or periwinkle.  I want to explain that looking at colors under store lighting is very deceptive, but being the photographer that I like to think I am, I boldly state that it has a little more purple in it and is probably closer to periwinkle.

I place my selections on the counter and hand the girl my credit card.

"I do not know what color is periwinkle," she smiles as she begins to scan the bar codes of my selections.

The tall, solidly built woman approaches the counter behind my husband and I, and looks around the store commenting that there is a lot of stock that still has to be moved by the holidays.  I respond that I have seen some stores that do not seem to have so much inventory and appear to be playing it more carefully.

Hubby says something about the recession and something else that I do not hear about the economy as I finish my check-out.  The woman responds to him with some comment I miss and he looks at a loss for words.  I grab my bags of clothes and turn to leave as the woman leans in close to hubby's ear and says something to him in a low voice.

As we are leaving the store and out of her hearing, I ask him what she said.

He takes a deep breath, "When all the goodies are gone, just make sure you have your gun loaded and ready."

And yet, she had looked so absolutely normal.


  1. I finsihed all of my shopping yesterday and most of the wrapping is done. I hardly had to threaten anyone and did not have to shoot a single bullet. Now I can sit back and relax for a day or two.

  2. I hate going in malls at this time of the year, avoid stores too but something like that could happen anywhere and has. We can't live with fear and not sure we can stop it as we are a people who consider violence a first response all too often. I don't know what it'll take to turn that around :(

    I should add that I highly recommend the Oliver Stone series on Showtime-- The Untold History of the United States-- as I think our government and entertainment are factors (not to say there aren't more) in all this. Hattie says the book is good but I have yet to find it where I do shop-- on those times when I can't avoid doing it.

  3. OMG!! She didn't??!! Sheesh!! Paranoid much!!
    I enjoy the fun to find the bargains and think of the person I am getting them for and I can see the smile on their faces!
    Merry Christmas

  4. I used to enjoy going into Downtown Boston to do some Christmas shopping when I was younger. Now, though, there are hardly any of the stores there that I liked as a child and the entire area is crawling with derelicts, addicts, etc. (which it probably was when I was younger, too, but there were more shoppers for them to blend in with...)

    Now I do 95% of my Christmas shopping on-line.

    And my first reaction, upon seeing the headlines this morning, was, "The world is going f***ing insane." The tragedies keep getting closer and closer together, it seems.

  5. Priceless!! :D Egads, girl, you are good with those words. :) Love both of your recent posts. My abode is not nearly as cozy and ready for Santa as one can make it appear on a mere blog... LOL However, fighting fatigue, I am continuing to drag bits and pieces of Christmas finery out of their year-long hiding places. Maybe I'll have some ornaments on the tree before next Wednesday when our son comes home for a few days???? :/

  6. All of these violent events shake me, but this is the first one that was in my old home grounds, I used to stay at a Marriot there when visiting my Dad. I'm not a big mall fan especially this time of year but to be honest large venues lost their charm for me long ago. They have such frenetic kinetic energy, I find it unnerving. I did most of my shopping in little local stores or online. Even made some gifts. I am so sorry this has happened, disturbing no matter what time of year.

  7. You can borrow him any old time once he get's over the shingles. :) Shopping was G's family solution for all problems. If something went well, they went shopping. If there was a disaster, they went shopping. They didn't talk, they went shopping. LOL

    I never shopped. He he he....

  8. Ahh, the true meaning of Christmas being spread. SHEESH!!! Merry Christmas, lady!

    I feel badly for Jesus. His birthday is being turned into a mockery.

  9. Geez, that is chilling. Is this saying that it's just cheap consumer goods keeping people from tearing the place down? I think that is probably what the rich people think, anyway.

  10. RYN: I spent a couple of weeks photographing log homes, and I actually think this is one. I'll blow it up and see what I can see.....

    (Once I warm up my backup files.

  11. RYN again: I didn't file the pictures away right and it took me forever to find it. Filed right now. Even blown up considerably, that "shack" has disolved so much that I cannot quite tell if it were a house or a shed origonally. Darn.

  12. what a chilling statement she made there....and what is normal really you had me there in your trip to the mall but...the malls are crazy at christmas anyway but in light of this ugh....

  13. Ha ha! And I haven't even started shopping yet.

  14. Great storytelling. I was completely taken up with it and the ending is fantastic. Send it to The Sun.

  15. Anonymous8:32 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. RYN: OD, Open Diary: It's a hive blog, and it was the first blog site online. There's an article about it somewhere. I started blogging there. It's a once man operation, and because his budget is marginal, it would often collapse. I started using blogger as a mirror blog when OD was down, and I'm now happily in both places.

  17. I seldom go into a mall
    Love small shops
    after Christmas...
    Now my small list
    is delivered by the mail carrier
    from Amazon.
    I guess one of the luxuries of
    old age.

  18. My thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy. Thanks for your post. Very well written.

    Greetings from London.


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