Realizing I left two people out when I thought I had purchased for everyone, I readied myself for the onslaught and ventured into the The Great Consumer Vortex. After circling the Target parking lot for 9 rotations, I found a spot. I lingered and waited, like a hawk citing roadkill. When my front and his rear bumpers cleared, I claimed my space. While only 80 feet from the door, dodging sedans, SUV’s, pickups, skateboards, shopping carts, scooters, and random, racing toddlers, I crossed the Target threshold after 29 life-inhibiting minutes.
What to buy?, what to buy?. I felt like a laptop reboot succumbing to the season: : “Let it load, let it load, let it load”. All cashier aisles were open, narry a small line amongst them. Ohhhhh Mmmmmmm Geeeee. I’ll be here all phuckin’ day. “What would Al Swearingin do?”, was my self-querry (I’ve been DVD-ing Deadwood of late). So I quickly grabbed two pairs of $1.00 socks from the cheapo section and then two Target gift cards. I studied the people who were #2, #3, and #4 positions in the the aisles nearest where I stood. Reaching into my purse, I extracted my wallet and let my thumb’s fingernail fan the green. I pulled out a Five, and deftly replaced the wallet into the purse.
Forcing a change upon my countenance to one less psychopathically stressed, I approached the #2 position female attired in what appeared to be sleepwear pants and a top of indiscriminate fabric and design. “I’ll give you $5 to let me go ahead of you.” says I, flashing the Lincoln at face level. It worked. Hallelulah. I had only to wait for the last ring-ups of the lady in front of me now.
I eyed her cart: Three rolls of wrapping paper, two boxed toys of unknown origin, a gallon of liquid Tide, a Hello Kitty blanket, two Princess dresses and a set of bed linen for a Queen size. Oh goodie, said I silently. Then it came. Out of the blue. Unexpected. Loud and clear. “Price Check Aisle 3”. Phuck. Double phuck. I monitored four transactions completed in the aisle next to me before the clerk showed up to see the item for which to get the price check. Unaware I had stepped backward between biting down on my teeth and momentarily losing my eyesight, the lady in back of me said “You just stepped on my foot.” to which I replied “What? You want another five dollars?.” She looked at me not so annoyed as concerned. I suppose it was the sweat coming from my brow.
Finally, the clerk returned, the cashier resumed her function and the transaction concluded. It was my turn. Two pairs of socks and two gift cards. “Twenty dollars on each of the cards please”. She complied. Fine girl. Excellent checker. What a wonderful girl. And then I heard it, but I could hardly believe it. “Excuse me I’ve run out of tape. I have to change it.” Oh god. Kill me now. There was nothing I could do but stand there and use my Ventolin dispenser. Puff. Puff. I could hear a man’s voice, behind me about 5 bodies down say “This is talking forever.” I turned, and over my shoulder “Yeah, merry fuckin’ Christmas”. There were eleven people in my line, only one chuckled. That’s less than 10%. Not a good percentage with only 3 days left till Christmas.
But with the tape replaced and inserted, my transaction concluded, my faltering steps guiding me back to my car, I found myself back on the road home, then in my parking place, then in my abode, then collapsing on the baccalounger. I had escaped from the Vortex yet once again. A hot bubble bath, begin Deadwood Season 2, and smoke a joint. Ahhhh, Christmas. Can’t live with it. Can’t kill it.