My spoiled youngest sister/niece depending on which end of the Jerry Springer Family Tree you're lookin' at wants gift cards to Hollister. Against my better judgment I dragged poor Mr. B who's in the penalty box for destruction of toys and one shattered Christmas ornament shopping this morning. We made it through 2 stand-alone stores and then headed to The Mall, AKA Ring of Hell #5. I parked where I saw a spot, walked into the building and discovered that our destination was on the far side of the shopping arena. Truly, I managed to get a parking spot at the polar opposite end of the mall. Heads bowed, fists clenched, lips in tight lines, Mr. B and I took off through the old people powerwalking and the strollers and sedate browser types. I noted that Santa was set up RIGHT BY our exit to the van. But he wasn't there YET, although a line had formed--a line of children who were definitely old enough to be in school--apparently it was Home School Association Day at Santa's Workshop. Dragging Mr. B by his cold and resisting fist, we hauled tail.
Past dizzying displays of things no one could possibly need.
Past colorful windows full of things no one should even want.
Past sweaters and throw pillows, necklaces and candles.
Past CD's and boots and a waffle iron with red handles.
We found Hollister. A dark and narrow store with music so loud that my salesgirl drinking her triple-mocha-latte-skim-with chocolate shavings had to shout across her register to be heard. Eight excruciating minutes later we left the Cavern of Damaged Eardrums and began our way out.
Past candies and capes, blue jeans and sunglasses.
Past scarves and darts and massage chairs for sore asses.
Santa was taking his seat when we finally rounded the corner to our exit. I slowed my pace to shield him from Mr. B's view. Holding my breath, we neared the area, the line stretching to the doors. A sturdy mall walker swept past at the very moment Mr. B could have registered what the hubbub was about. We made it to the van without question or incident.
They believe in Santa, but the one Team Testosterone sees is at breakfast at the Art Center downtown. A breakfast that seats 100 people and allows for a relaxed and leisurely visit. That was the closest any of my crew has been to Mall Santa.
To end this episode on a happy note, I should not need to return to Ring of Hell #5 for at least another year. I think Mr. B and I have served enough penance for a very long time.