Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Night Plants Saved Christmas

Tis the season of stress- (sung to the tune of 'Oh, Christmas tree')

Oh, the time is here
should be lots of cheer
what do I buy
for everyone?

And now the snoooow
is thick and deep
I couldn't get oooout
even with a jeep

Oh, Christmas cheer
stress time is here
please hand me
aaaaaanother valium!

I like Christmas. Really, I do. Ok, sorta.

I start with a list, but it never quite pans out.

Damn people everywhere. Move the cart OUT of the middle of the aisle, will ya? Do you not even have a shred of consciousness about cart etiquette, woman?! Sheesh. Ohhh, a sale! Clearance even. But are the sleeves the right length? Hmmm, maybe it shows too much cleavage. What about the color? A little too 'bright'? And I wonder about the hem length. But it's so expensive looking...and on clearance! I should stop worrying and just get it already. Put it in the cart, damnnit, and move on.

But what if it fits wrong? What if they don't like the fabric? OMG - what if they want to return it? They'll know how cheap I am! They'll think I didn't put any thought into their gift at all, but am some cheap, Scroogey, penny-pinching miser. Ok, so I am, but they don't have to know that.

Lady, will you stop crowding me? And again - move your damn cart! Can you not see eighteen people trying to get around that thing with the screeching wheel? Ut-oh, feeling a bit light-headed. What is that smell? Ahhh, the old lady wearing the whole bottle of perfume. And not even a nice perfume.

Where did all these people suddenly come from? Oh. My. God. They are after my clearance finds! No, no, no!

Buddy, I feel for ya. I can see the fear in your eyes. Careful with that elbow, a few of these women look like they may actually bite. Here, I'll make room. Lady, for the tenth time, move that friggin cart or my ass is literally going to move it for you! I will not be pleased when I get home and look in the mirror at the stamped impression of 'cart' on my derriere.

Put the shirt in the cart. Maybe keep one hand on it while it's actually IN the cart because people have been known to snatch-n-grab. There is no politeness in the clearance section, you know.

OK, keep skimming the rack before everything but that gawd-awful hot pink paisley is gone.

Ummm, girly, get your hand off mine. My fingers touched that hanger first. You snooze, you lose, babe. Don't you even dare give me that look! I touched it first, you can't deny it. Curl that lip all you want. I have 4 kids, 2 in their teens- nothing scares me!

Crap! Wrong size. What is with people putting a size twenty-two in the size twelves? They are not interchangeable, you know. Start moving the hanger back to the rack, only to have it snatched outta the hand before it can get within inches of it's previous hanging space. Well, snarling girl is now smiling with triumph with wrong-size shirt in ring-covered hand. Subconsciously, I hope she trips over it on the way to the register, but I give her my brightest toothpaste-whitened smile.

Lordy, the crowd just doubled in size! I swallow the whine in my throat as I hurriedly finger-walk the hangers. I feel the lady to my left tense up. Yeah, honey, I'm moving into your territory. Don't you even try to stop those hanger-flippin' fingers of mine. You're moving to the right - my fingers are flicking left, why not swap my square foot of floor space for yours? Then you can be next to the no-etiquette-won't-move-her-damn-blocking-the-aisle-screechy-cart-lady.

My goodness! A flicker of hope in all the madness. She smiles, nods and gets my drift, as with a wag of my finger we squeeze by each other.

Crap! My cart. It has been left unattended on the opposite side of swap-lady. Well, there's nothing I can do about it now, I must rely on the generosity of fellower pusher-shovers not to five-finger it out of my small square of metal mesh on wheels. I am so trusting!

I'm feeling so much more cheery. I glance at scared-guy, now directly to my left. It's still there: That look of feral-cat-trapped-up-a-tree-by-twenty-ankle-biting-yapping-snarling-pull-you-apart-with-my-teeth christmas shopping women. I feel a little generosity swelling in my tense gut and I give him my brightest grin. "Looking for a certain size?"

He nods, tentatively. "Zero."

Zero? Size freaking zero? Who the hell wears a zero? OK, I don't like him anymore. He's somehow attached to a woman who wears a zero. All right, re-sheath the claws. Maybe it's his poor, shrunken, malnourished mother.

Sadly, I point to the opposite side of the rack. "The smaller sizes are over there," I tell him.
His body falls as a look of devastation washes over his face.
"Sorry," I mumble as he begins to squeeze his way through the pushing, growling throng of women. Hey, he'll be all right - there aren't nearly as many shopping-zombies groping the zero side.

Shoot. There's nothing good at this side of the rack. Reluctant, I distance myself from the beautiful clearance rack and begin to back out of the malay. Yes, my finger tips are no longer within range of the drooping fabrics. It is over. Squeaky-cart-lady finally moves the damn thing as she budges into my vacated space.

I move on, sideswiping three or four don't-know-the-rules-of-the-aisle-cart-drivers. What IS it with people? Is this how they drive their cars too? Maybe I should wander to the camping section and plan on spending the night in a borrowed tent because I certainly don't want to be on the same roads as these uncouth cart drivers. Hey, if a girl can live for weeks in a Wally-world, I can get through one night here.

I must destress and suppress the angst building slowly up from my toes. So, of course, off to the the garden section!

Why has it become so compressed? Do they think people don't garden in winter? For shame! I shake my head sadly, but rejoice in the glow of the few items that do remain on the shelves.

And then my unbelieving eyes spy something much too good to be true. OMG! Paper Whites. A beautifully packaged trio with wonderful, colorful, hand-blown glass vases.

I can't help it, my hands suddenly have a mind of their own as they snatch a box from the shelf.


My eyes narrow as they slide from clearance shirt still folded neatly in cold-mesh-on-wheels to glowing vases pressed against my chest. The Paper Whites cost more.

Clearance shirt - glorious vases.
Clearance shirt - fabulous Paper Whites.

The decision making process inside my head takes but mere milliseconds, though my left brain tells me I'm blocking the aisle to the garden center, so hurry the silent argument up.

Ok, the shirt is a prize. An award. Something I won fair and square. There was much more thought put into it than simply plucking a box with alluring hand-blown vases off the shelf. What to do, what to do?

Stop debating! Flowers are much more fun than a shirt, any day. But I fought so hard for the shirt. And if anyone thinks I'm fighting my way back to the clearance rack to replace that shirt, they are nutballs! Nutballs, I tell you!

Casually, I place the shirt in the recently vacated box spot.

I feel a tingle of Christmas cheer. The perfect gift for the person it will be given to. I can wheel my way through the throngs of people buying things for people who don't need them and don't want them to begin with, with money they don't have to spare, cradling my perfect gift.

And plants save Christmas - again.

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