So who doesn’t love Christmas shopping, right? Of course, I love Christmas shopping. Let’s take something like shopping, that I already dislike on any regular day and then put me in a mode of “have to buy” on a December shopping day with people all around me, also “have to” buying and full of the cheerful holiday spirit we call Christmas, which any other time of the year would be call RUDE. But anyway, the other
day my husband and I decide to split the children up for a couple hours in order to do some Christmas shopping and do it more efficiently. We find over and over again that our children are very not only bearable but surprisingly civil, thoughtful and downright awesome when they are not around the other for periods of time. We call it happy time, even though this obviously precludes my husband and I from any time of bonding. But honestly, if we’re all together, we’re not bonding anyway. We’re taking turns yelling at the kids to get out of the clothes, quit acting like a baby, put your brother down (who weighs like 5 ounces less than you), quit crying just because you fell for the third time in the last 300 feet. If you’re going to run about frivolously, you just might end up running into a large planter or a metal decoration of some sort. I’m really sorry, but I don’t want to hear about it—since it’s the tenth time in recent, and by that, I mean 5 frieking minutes!!!!! Just hold still for five seconds! PLEASEEEE if you all talk to me at once, I can’t answer, and NO, you can’t climb on the large ornaments—put your feet down!
Soooo as you can see, alone time with one child each is really how God intended our family to run most efficiently. So my four year old and I run off to pick up a couple presents for dad. And after our six minute walk into the store that is 10 feet from my parked vehicle because C has to stop and pick four flowers for me, get gingerly out of the car (just to spite me) and laugh hilariously while he dodges my hand fifty times before we can cross the street… I’m a little edgy now. So we walk into the nicest tie shop in our neighborhood—mind you, there’s very little competition, but still… I don’t think it’s Park Avenue, but the guys in there do. They always piss me off, but today I don’t care. I’m getting my husband a tie of my choosing, knowing he will indeed take it back because he does have better taste than I. It’s true. It doesn’t hurt my feelings, but he also loves Christmas… so presents we shall have. I go in and walk over to the tie rack, at which point I have already lost C. He immediately dodged into a rack of suits as we walk inside, which as I may have mentioned the owners think are made of golden thread. Puh-lease… You’re not in New York , baby. This is Phoenix. We don’t do “fancy” suits, and even if we do—not one gives a shit. So I pretend to ignore him, which as always, kicks me in the ass, instead of teaching him a lesson. I can’t find him. So I am trying to ignore him, while I feverishly look for him now, and all the while, trying to be cool and calm. My neck hurts. I hear him, so I decide to let him play in the coats and look quickly for the tie of Troy’s “take back” dreams. I pick up one and take it to C who has dived into yet another rack, right below three sport coats that come in red, cream and black. Seriously, who’s gonna buy that? And shouldn’t we question their style if they do!!! But still, I go over and try to get him involved. I ask him if he likes the tie I picked. He doesn’t care. And he senses, as all small children do, that it would bring me great joy if he would help me—so he dove back under the racks. I’m getting some, as they say, “negative attention” from the staff, so I firmly tell C to get out of the rack and go play on the chair I see ahead of me OR help me pick a tie for dad! He picks the chair, shockingly, I might add. I busily take the next 15 seconds of quiet to run around another 8th of the oval-shaped table of ties on display
while I overhear some jackass at the front desk, bragging about how he’s going to go skiing at Deer Valley in Utah next weekend, while he buys his faux fancy suits. Oy, I hate pretentious people. Which damn overpriced tie am I buying??? Hurry, hurry. The check out person, who thinks he is Armani’s direct offspring (yes, there’s a lot of humor in that line)… is saying, “Yes, where in Utah?, I love the skiing there.” Please. I forget how judgmental I’m being in my head as I glance over to see my son has found, not the chair I recommended, but the chair next to the chair I recommended, which is seated in front of a computer, a catalog the size of Texas and a scanner. My son is looking for the bar codes in the books, so he can see how much the products are. No, really, he told me he was “looking for the bar codes”, swinging the scanner about, radiating the room, flawlessly. I tried to be calm and play along for a minute. I had played hard ball already. Round 2. Let’s try the “okay, let’s do what you’re doing” approach. He is mostly just wound up now. I run back for my last quickly run at the tie table, choose my very favorite one from the stack, trying not to worry about whether my husband will like it or not. I usually sweat it, a lot. But no time today. Too many other things to sweat about. I walk over and tell my son we are going to pay now. I walk confidently to the counter and stand in line behind a man who is dressed in his best “I’m so athletic” outfit and his sporty wife, while the kiss ass counter lady is taking hems out of a suit jacket on the counter. She didn’t look up once, give me a smile, say I’ll be one minute. She kept nice and focused on the jacket and the inane chatter. I’m obviously eager to be out of the store, since I am still not in control of my child. So I wait patiently. No problem, I can take a few more minutes of fake land. So I wait. C runs up with an object that fits nicely and ergonomically in the palm of his hand. It looks a lot like a shoe buffer, you know, when you polish your shoes. So he opens it and pretends to buff my arm, full contact like. And I really don’t care. It doesn’t hurt, doesn’t seem destructive, and I ignore and condescending looks from everyone in the store except the irritating lady behind the counter, who is apparently taking the afternoon to sew the frieking jacket! I’m getting irritated now.
But to my surprise, it wasn’t over yet. As I’ve been standing in line for a good seven minutes now, I am doing the “look around”, so someone might just come over and help me—take a five second break from selling those fabulous suits to these men who are only here because it’s close to home—not because of the unparalleled craftsmanship. Should I tell them that and maybe they’ll find time to ring me up? While I’m considering this option, wondering if I should have dressed up in order to come into the store today. Mind you, I wasn’t messy or tacky at all, but I wasn’t wearing my gala special. You understand, cause it’s Sat!urday afternoon! I wasn’t picking my nose or changing my kids diaper on the counter. But Gomer freaking Pile walks up to the counter at minute 8 and some guy jumps out of nowhere to help him. Now I’m pissed. Still no eye contact with me, and I’m beginning to feel like I’m missing my teeth and standing naked in the store, with old saggy underwear on? Seriously, what the FFFFFFF! The guy’s not even buying something! He’s returning a package that was sent to him unexpectedly. He was buying as many suits as I was and less ties. So get out of my way, old man! I look down as my son brushes my arm again and find that he has been brushing “shining concoction” on my arm. My arm hair is glistening in the light of the store, and I’m realizing someone is probably pissed about that waste of “shiny shit for shoes” being wasted on my tiny arm. But here’s the deal. If anyone’s irritated, get me the hell out of here. I finally walk around the counter to the little man selling suits, who thinks he is still not needing to notice me standing here, while my son runs about and shines my arm. I stomped up to him and said, “Would you mind ringing up this tie so I can leave?” I’m seething and trying to be polite, but more was slipping out… “I promise it will be fast.” He looks up, acting faux shocked. I realize he didn’t understand me. He thinks I am saying to hurry up. I really meant that it would be quick to ring up a tie, so he wouldn’t lose Mr. I have a bank job over there, thinking about buying his one suit, get seven free. I looked him straight in the eye and was going to correct it, but I let him think whatever he thought. I’m not a bitch, but if that sounded like it, take it. Whatever makes you hurry the hell up. My son has put down the shiner and now has decided to open the glass case and sensing my angst, tells me he won’t touch the cuff links, as if this frustration of mine has made me stupid. Yes, I believe you. This will be the first time in your life you have ever opened something and not touched it. No, I totally believe you. So I bare down hard on the glass case, so he can’t open it, which incites a loud whine from his tiny throat, to which he knows I can do nothing in the store except beg for him to quit. And like every good mom, I panic and change the rules. Alright, you can touch them. The counter man decides to start asking my address and my shoe size and all this crap. What happened to just paying for merchandise? Why do you need to know my next of kin in order for me to buy a tie! Have you not noticed I’m done, I’m rude, and I’m ready to go. And you KNOW you want me gone too. So he chooses, in his intuition salesperson way… “I guess he’s just a little boy, right?” Yeah, whatever. What are you talking about? Because he plays with cuff links in glass cases at your store? Just wrap it up, sweetie. Nope, it wasn’t enough. He said, “You must sleep well at night.” And I guffawed. I didn’t even try to hide it. I replied raucously, “You must not have small children”, slightly smugly. I’m trying so hard to be nice now. He’s obviously too old to have children, and he’s an ass. Try to be nice!!! “C, you may touch the cuff links one more time, and then we are closing the case for good!” I don’t know why I always use this line, but it feels like we’re working together on an optimal solution… even though I’m not sure of that. My blood vessels are tightening. The man says, “I don’t have children.” I say, “Well, that makes sense. Because you never sleep again once you have children.” I was up all night last night because one was coughing. That’s why I look tired, and I feel cranky, and I want my damn present. Finally, he’s done talking to me. FINALLY!!!! And he’s gotten all my fabulous information in order for me to buy a tie, one damn tie!!! I say good-bye brusquely, knowing that I will in fact have to come back to this awful establishment at another time in my life. The sewing lady has since moved across the room, apparently done with her imitation of Cinderella’s mice. And my skeezy, fake counter guy tells me to have a nice day while I take my shiny arm, my onery child and one “take back” tie from the store. On the way out we accidentally crush the flower my son picked for me on the way in, when I told him we couldn’t take 400 little flower petals in the floor. It was probably a sign I should have listened to on my way in. But I didn’t. Now off to the liquor store. Why the hell does daddy wear ties anyway? He should just want liquor for Christmas. Let’s buy him some nice scotch for mommy to drink this year.
So in the spirit of spreading the joy of the season, peace and love this holiday season… Bite me. You and yours. And don’t ever ask me for a tie for Christmas.