Did you ever start into something, knowing full well that it’s going to end very badly, but pushed right ahead anyway?
I did that this weekend.
I ran errands.
More specifically, I went to Target.
I love Target, that should be known right of the bat, but Target 2 Saturdays before Christmas is an entirely different beast. And it is a BEAST.
In order to be charitable (and b/c of the crapass economy) our company canceled our holiday party and suggested that we participate in one of a few different charity options. (As a side note, the big party was canceled and then a small party was reinstated and made mandatory. Go figure). We had two choices but given that I don’t own any winter coats that I’m not currently wearing, I opted out of the coat drive.
That left me with Operation Santa Claus. Yes, just like on 30 Rock. I got a little boy and his sister who lived in the Bronx and gave me very helpful suggestions of what to buy, including clothing and shoe sizes and the toys they’d like the most. Not greedy at all–just informative.
So I made use of Boo’s car and schlepped to Target. When I got inside there were absolutely no baskets left. I always prefer the basket to the cart–it limits the spending and at Target, that’s always a good idea. But I sucked it up and grabbed the last cart in the store that didn’t have a huge carseat attached to it. I tried to do a quick search for some things that I needed first but with that stupid cart, I could barely navigate the aisles.
My first dangerous encounter occured somewhere near the sock section. I was trying to pull back into the main aisle but I was blocked by 2 women who were deep in conversation about how “girlfriend should totally break up with him b/c he’s not treating her well” but “she’d never do that b/c his gifts is too nice.” Rather than interrupt that, I tried to just side-step them. Unfortunately there was a lone, empty cart in my way. As I attempted to pass it, I clipped it’s back wheel. The women stopped talking–apparently it was their cart. I mumbled sorry and they were all “yeah you SHOULD be sorry!” “Try saying ‘excuuuuuse me’ next time!”
I slunk away as quickly as I could while pushing the bohemath cart. I did NOT want to get into with anyone before I even made it to the toy aisle.
My letter’s author had requested one gift specifically. Unfortunately for me, they didn’t readily stock this gift and the object was quite elusive. I was trolling up and down the aisles, searching in vain, dodging small children and grabby adults alike. (As another side note, WHY bring your kids with you when you are shopping for them? Doesn’t that kind of shatter the Santa illusion?)
I couldn’t handle it. I pulled out of there as quickly as I could and found solace in the closest empty space I could find. This happened to be right by the dog food. I called my mom, mid-panic attack. She picked up and I started freaking out, threatening to break down and cry in the toy aisle (to the great amusement of a fellow shopper–I’m pretty sure she knew my pain). My mom told me “THERE IS NO CRYING IN TARGET!” and so I had to get it together and pick out this damn toy. I made her stay on the phone with me though–moral support at a time like that is crucial.
I finally made it out alive, and more importantly, with toys! But oh no, my day wasn’t over yet. I decided it would be a good idea to hit Kohl’s on my way home. I had a coupon and their bras were on sale–Merry Christmas to me! But after missing the turn and nearly running the same red light TWICE (once when I mistakenly turned into the gas station and again when I finally pulled out of that lot and floored it to get into the turning lane I actually needed to be in) I said the hell with that.
I had one last stop. The grocery store. I only needed a frozen pizza, beer, shredded cheese and toilet paper. That SHOULD have been a short stop. I grabbed everything I needed and jumped into the shortest line I could see. Behind 2 old ladies. That was a bad idea.
The first lady took 10 minutes to bag her stuff. No no, the eggs have to be double bagged separately and then they have to be in the front seat of the cart. No, I can’t have the bread and the muffins in the same bag. They need different bags. On and on. I tuned her out and read up on Tom Cruise’s life in pictures or something equally compelling.
Finally she left and the second old lady moved up. She had brick after brick of cheese–Jarlsberg, Gouda, Brie–and 2 lobster rolls. Hers is a house I would not want to be in. Just sayin’. The cashier rang everything up and told her the total: $76.59. The lady pulled out 2 gift cards and the cashier told her to swipe it like a normal credit card. She swiped and handed both cards over. Okay, she said, now your total is $26.59–did you want to use both of these? No no, said the old lady, I get that back. Then they went back and forth about how the old lady only used 1 of the cards and the second card still had money on it and she could use that $50 gift card for the balance. This was explaining calculus to a 3-year-old (or to me b/c lord knows I wouldn’t get it). It was unbearable. And of course, there was no telling which card was the used card and which card wasn’t. That was a fun game to play while figuring it out.
I gave my condolences to the cashier, who after those women looked ready for a smoke, a drink and a bullet to the head and loaded my stuff into the car. I decided I’d do for Boo/Jade what my dad used to do for me/Conan. Borrow the car but fill it up. So I pulled into the Citgo by his house, pulled up to the pump and got ready to get gas for the first time in over a year. I ended up with the broken pump. I thought it was standard gas pump procedure that you put the nozzle in the tank, pull the handle and the gas comes out. Well apparently this nozzle was busted and if you pulled the handle too far (read: normal handle-pulling for all working nozzles) it would click off. I had to hold the handle mid-way the ENTIRE time I filled up. The gas was dripping slowly, cent by cent into the car. I gave up. I paid. I ended up having filled the tank anyway after spending 10 painstaking minutes balancing the handle of the pump.
When at last I maneuvered the left turn out of the parking lot I floored it home. I grabbed all the bags and toddled upstairs. Still shaking from the day’s adventure. Boo grabbed my bags when I, panting and shaking, reached the top of the stairs and he followed me into the kitchen where I promptly told him everything that had happened and requested a beer while already shoving my mouth full of Peppermint Moose Munch ($2.99 @ Target!).
While I was shaking and seething and still asking for that beer, Boo just looked at me and, through TEARS of laughter said, “Aw, you’re just not ready to be a little housewife yet, are you?”
Thankfully I thought it was hilarious. Plus, he followed that with “I’m kidding! I’m kidding! I swear I’m kidding!” and a Sierra Nevada. Otherwise, the afternoon could have gotten even scarier!