The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Terror at the mall

When I was younger, I used to love to go to the local shopping mall. I could get out of the house, get some exercise by walking from one end of the mall and back, and see things along the way. I think those days are gone forever. In recent years, a visit to the mall is like a visit to the sixth level of hell.

I have taken to making my own gifts as much as possible, for the holiday season. This includes DVDs of things I've done and seen over the past year, jewelry, and cards. But some things, basic things, can't be done this way.

Dan and I needed to do some shopping over the weekend. We needed groceries, mailing bags, and other small items that are best purchased in discount shops. We need to go to the *gasp* .... MALL.

The first hurdle to any trip to the mall is, of course, finding a place to park the car. During any time of year this can be a challenge, but doubly so during the holiday season. We brought our water bottles and walking sticks with us, as we knew we'd be parked at least a mile from the mall entrance. We circled the lot like vultures, waiting for an empty spot. Finally, after what seemed like an hour, we spied one! Dan pulled up, ready to take the coveted spot, when he realised why no one was parked there. There was a 4 WD vehicle with bull bars pulled too far forward, taking up a portion of the spot, which would have positioned the front end our car into the traffic lane. No wonder it was empty!

Finally, we found a spot and prepared ourselves for the obstacle course that was then the treck to the mall's front entrance. We dodged cars and families with prams. More about the prams later. Slightly battle scarred and thirsty, we walked into the mall. We'd made it!

We had four stops to make. Four stops through the Santa photo set-up filled with parents, kids, and grandparents waiting to have a shot with the Big Guy. Four stops past the crowds of tired and irate adults, screaming toddlers and loud teenagers, while, all the time, muzak versions of Christmas songs played over the PA system. I couldn't get out of there soon enough.

Something happens to people when they shop at the mall. The bright lights and lack of clocks anywhere make people slow down to half speed. Tasks that should take 15 minutes, take an hour. We went into our local discount store for mailing bags, sunscreen, and a Christmas DVD. We came out with five DVDs, two pairs of pants, four shirts, Christmas cards that we don't need, and the giant size of sunscreen. I should be hooked up for sunscreen until 2020.

The worst part of the trip? Parents with Prams (PWPs as they now shall be called.) I don't know why, but some PWPs use their prams like Moses used his arms to part the Red Sea. More than once, I've had pram wheels run up my heels by a parent who was in a hurry and had no idea how far forward from their body the pram reached.  I think some parents use their prams like snow plows, or people plows, scattering human casualties through the mall, on sidewalks, on trains. People go flying like bowling pins. I cringe in terror whenever I see a PWP behind me.

After three hours in the mall, I was ready for a Valium and a lie down. Dan wasn't in much better condition. I think I may have even opened up eBay on my computer and kissed the screen. Dan retreated to his workshop in his garage (I call it his garage because there is nothing in there that remotely belongs to me) and disappeared for two days. I hear he's having therapy.

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posted by Melanie O. at 9:52 AM -
  • At 6:02 AM, Blogger David said…

    Thank god for internet shopping to limit the carnage!

  • At 10:03 AM, Blogger Melanie O. said…

    Amen to that, David. Sometimes you just can't avoid doing the retail thing. That's when a glass of wine or something afterwards helps. ;)

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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