Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I actually went to a mall

. . . reconfigure, regroup, revamp, recall, reflect.

I'm freaking out because today I have nothing to say in writing. Usually the ideas are waiting in a long queue, screaming, "Take me! Use me today!" But today I just feel drained and relaxed and kind of comfy and sad. This is largely because my in-laws and neice (their granddaughter; my husband's sister's daughter) showed up Friday afternoon after a long drive from Upstate NY. Having them here for three and a half days was a decadent diversion that we rarely get. I always feel maudlin the day after they leave. I guess the maudlinity hit me in the blogosphere.

It Immodiumized my chronic blogorrhea.

We had the joy of the men going off to Boston for a huge family reunion of people whom they've never met, and then rejoining us and telling us the stories and showing us a collection of antique photos on CD. This is gratifying; theirs is a very famous name, descended from a controversial historical figure, and it's great that they got to learn more about a background that until now has been somewhat elusive .

While the "big men" were gone, we opted for the safe and vapid. The rest of us got a day of fatty eggy pancakey breakfast out and a completely airheaded day at the mall. I hate malls and never visit them unless I absolutely have to; they give me massive headaches and wear out my feet and I just want to beam myself out as soon as I arrive. But it was refreshing to zone out on stupidity for a few hours. There was some mystical strength in numbers going on. The others diverted me from the commercialistic depression to which I am always prone when I shop alone. A heavily tattooed sales woman kept my mom-in-law busy at MAC for an entire half hour. [Do we get a tattoo with this as a "special-gift-with-your-purchase"?]

Since we were on the second floor overlooking the center, the rest of us were unexpectedly treated to an "American Idol"-type contest apparently hosted by a local radio station. Some of the singers were actually good, but the space's acoustics did not flatter even the best of them. I was impressed by the number of young people who had the guts to go out there and belt out whatever struck their fancy. I can't remember what they are supposed to win, but there were to be twenty finalists notified by phone so as to avoid anger, disappointment, humiliation, and, probably, mall-bashing and looting.

We visited a Swarovski crystal shop. I have only seen the stuff in the display windows and had never gone in before, figuring it might not be my cup of tea. Indeed within two minutes I started feeling nervous, empty and self conscious gazing at gleaming crystal Mickey and Minnie Mice that cost $275 each. And a very large, featureless crystal moose that must have been over $1000, but I didn't bother to look at the price. All I could think about was how many other things than a crystal Mickey or Minnie I'd like to spend $275 on. Also, how could you stop at one, you'd have to get the other one because everyone knows they have to go together. But for $275 (or $550 for the pair), I could do so much better. Getting a haircut and color, comfy shoes or new snow boots, or veneering my ugly teeth, for instance. As soon as I saw the conglomeration of Disney drivel my face went hot and I felt swoony and had to get out of there. Luckily on the way out I saw some artificial topaz earrings and some non-aquamarine earrings and those were kinda pretty and stopped me from throwing up on the way out.

I learned again that a woman must never go to a mall with men or boys unless it is exclusively into the shops they like. I was not allowed to go into any shoe stores without their abandoning me entirely. I cannot stand to get separated from my group anywhere; for example, I hate going to the grocery store with the boys/man when I'm seriously shopping and they take off with my cart and slip off aisles away from me when I am looking at the merchandise. Hello-o, I'm shopping, here! I am the one who needs the cart. I am not going to gather a bunch of large items in my arms and chase you endlessly around. Fortunately I found a comfort shoe store [always the pragmatist, no Manolos or Jimmy Choos on these tootsies] and directly across they found a Discovery store, where they are wont to play for hours. The elder immediately sat in a demonstration massage chair with a remote control, and the younger went toward the back where all the nature games are. I found no comfort shoes, for although there was a "sale" they had only one pair of each item on sale and they were all tiny sizes and they were all over $100 anyway. Oh, well. I'm sure I can find some old-season Uggs online anytime, and it's too hot to think about now.

Also, my mom-in-law is not a destination shopper, but an inveterate browser. Just before apparently being absorbed into the walls of Swarovski, coming back out, and then going back for seconds (why?), my mom-in-law went into L'Occitane for some smell-good-ums or froo-froo water or whatever you call it. My wimpy sniffer went on the fritz after about four minutes, but hers kept going strong. Shortly the rest of us parked ourselves outside the store waiting for her. After she must have snorted every item they had at least six times, she came out with a bottle of "house perfume" (parfum maison is the commercial term, I believe). When we got home, she presented it to me. It was the only thing I liked in the whole store. I might have bought it for myself except that I already knew my family would not allow me to use it in THEIR airspace, so I didn't bother. So now I have a nice bottle to smell all by myself when they have their backs turned, but never to actually spray anywhere except obscure corners where no one will notice.

We went into Borders books and bought the neice manga and the tyke some Darby Conley comic strip books ("Get Fuzzy" series). We somehow eschewed Williams-Sonoma, where my mind goes all soft and jiggly and I want things, and Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn, where I have to touch absolutely everything, especially the fabrics. We bypassed the big department stores, which is good because I tend to have radar for inexcusably expensive Kenneth Cole Reaction shoes. I was feeling fairly smug and accomplished when we got to Victorinox. We liked looking at the watches. I need a new watch badly, but their style is not mine, so despite being descended upon by numerous courteous sales people I escaped into the cool-and-clever kitchen-gadget section, which I always find amusing.

Finally we arrived at one of our only intended destinations: a rock 'n Goth shop full of black garments, leather with spikes, and fingerless gloves called Hot Topic. I had never seen this shop before and was curious, so we had fun in there wondering how expensive the huge black and metal lace-up boots were and trying on gloves and choosing rock T shirts for the young teen boys. The neice has adopted a sort of mild pseudo Goth style, so we figured we'd find something for her. It brought out my inner pirate and that was fun.

How sad that I am so unadventurous and unconnected to and uninterested in things most Americans consider "normal" that a mall trip with family became a freak treat.


At 8/30/2006 4:21 PM, Blogger Elisabeth said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment! I have made many trips to the mall in my life - and, frankly, I do not mind malls. But I do prefer by far the factory outlets that are about 45 miles away from where I live.

Clothes shopping is always a drag for me. There's never enough that I like, stuff is too expensive, and I hate having to try stuff on - I get tired of it really quickly. Bra shopping, geez, I wrote one entry in my blog about it, you can read it here.

At 9/08/2006 5:06 AM, Blogger Tuesday said...

Mail Order woman.
I get the catalogues out fall and spring and mail order. Somehow I find the postman's visit worth the wait and the mall trip is just stressful in the extreme, even if it is the great American pasttime.
Miss you.


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