09 April 2011

Sensory overload

I consider malls a necessary evil, and try to avoid them except when ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Malls make me twitchy; there’s just too much humanity crammed into this weird, hermetically sealed space where time has no meaning. There’s too much music, too many smells, too many vendors hawking massages, or makeovers, or squawky, shuddering, battery operated impulse purchases, who are resentful when your children stop to browse, and glare angrily when you refuse to purchase their wares. When I have to go to the mall, I do it during the day, when it's relatively quiet, and I carefully plan my stops in advance, so I can swoop in swat-team style, execute my mission and get-the-fuck-out-of-there. 

This week, I went to the mall. It was Sarah’s birthday, and I took Gabriel and Sacha to get presents. Sarah and Gabriel are perpetually engaged in gift exchange negotiations. In this way, they are helping each other prepare for married life. Sarah dictated They agreed that Gabriel would give Sarah a gift card to Delia’s.

We stopped first at Delia’s and Gabriel bought his gift card. And then, we went to Abercrombie so I could get a gift card from David and myself. Nothing makes me feel more like a crotchety old-lady than Abercrombie. I hate their weird soft-core porn advertising, which, combined with their sexy-preppy clothing, puts me in mind of an extremely well groomed, uptight, Ivy League sex party. I hate the dark lighting, heavily perfumed air, and ridiculously loud music. On a good day, all of this combines to give me seizures. In my current state, with my fluid-filled ear, and still unintegrated senses, it was too much for my bad addled brain. I felt like a tender, frightened newborn, and after I conducted my business, I grabbed the boys and ran screaming for the car.

Today, I am going back to the mall, and unlike my usual precision mission, it is a Saturday, and I will be there for a extended time. For her birthday, I am letting Sarah and two friends loose with some spending money. I plan on parking myself in a bar with a beer and a book. When I get home, I will need to lie in a dark, quiet place.

I hope some day, when my children look back on their childhood, they will appreciate what I did for love.

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