Shopping Maul Five

I really had to get out of the house.

Really, really.

The walls were starting to close in on me and I had forgotten how many days I'd been wearing the same underwear.

The answer was only one, but I wasn't sure, and that scared me.

This week and the last were all about getting ready for Wednesday's show. And for those of you that missed it (which is all of you), it went very well. The venue was very nice, the beer was very good, the staff were fantastic, I had just enough material and I only forgot the lyrics to my originals, so no one would have known the difference.

But four hours in the car, two hours set up and tear down, and three hours on stage, that's like a full time job right there. Feels good to say that.

But two things are clear; One, I'm outta shape, and two, I need to learn more happy songs. Both easily in my grasp.

Yet after two weeks of cramming, rehearsing, preparing, and pacing nervously, I woke up yesterday and decided to give up on life. I ventured away from the couch only twice. Once to refill my coffee cup and then again to eat dinner four movies later. Suffice it to say I got up this morning feeling extremely cow like.

So when the opportunity arose to get Calvin a new pair of sneakers, it seemed like a golden opportunity to stop all the blood from coagulating in my extremities and maybe generate some fodder for today's five.

And when it comes to fodder, the mall never disappoints.

Five Things Shopping Maul:

One: Americans can't handle roundabouts.

The distance between my house and the nearest J.C.Penny's is barely a half mile, but of course we had to drive and that half mile of street contains four stop signs, one traffic light, and three roundabouts. The american brain is a very complicated thing. And one thing I've noticed over the years is that when the american brain is confused it essentially forces the user to make the worst decision possible and then over correct in a ridiculous hail storm of bad maneuvers.

Now, I'm a proponent of roundabouts, on paper.

In practice, however, in the age of soccer moms and suburban assault vehicles, a funny thing happens. Nine out of ten drivers aren't mentally prepared for the roundabout and find themselves in the middle of it before realizing it, and again, when americans are confused, they don't slow down and proceed with caution, they speed up and just aim their cars in the direction they think they want to go.

Roundabouts are safer and more efficient, but damn, they're scary.

Two: Shopping will forever remain a mystery to me

I just don't understand how we can spend twenty minutes looking through racks of blue jeans and dress shirts when we clearly came for sneakers. It just breaks all the physical, mathematical, and evolutionary laws that I know of and will forever force me to renegotiate my terms with reality.

Three: Calvin's starting to become a man.

It didn't take him longer than three seconds to pick out a pair of shoes. He looked up from his new Nintendo game, said he wanted the orange ones and only the orange ones, that was what he wanted, and when it turned out there wasn't a pair in his size, he looked up from his game again and said he wanted the green ones and only the green ones.

I liked the green ones too. They're velcro.

Four: I don't remember why I ever disliked velcro.

I do remember feeling like it was important for Calvin to learn how to tie his shoes. I do remember, so vividly, that amazing moment when he stopped me in the aisle of a supermarket so he could tie them all by himself, and I do remember it taking a very long time but I was oblivious to the fact, for I was in that moment of Parental Bliss when the child takes another step toward independence. But ever since that moment, I have hated laces with the heat of a thousand flaming suns.

Putting on shoes to go anywhere or do anything is quite possibly the reason why parents kill their children.

That, and buckling up.

Five: Paying the full retail price suddenly feels very wrong.

I don't know what happened. I have never felt bad about paying anything for anything. If I need it, I buy it. If I want it, and I've already paid for the things I need, I buy it. I used to just assume that things cost what they cost.

But retailers have shot themselves in the face by skewing the value of just about everything. Sale prices, markdowns, door busters, bogos, coupons, groupons, and membership cards.

I honestly don't know what the price of sneakers are.

Joann told me the price of the green sneakers and I had no idea what it meant, but judging by her face I could tell that it was ridiculous.

Not high.

I've paid more for an overcooked 8oz steak and soggy broccoli.

Just ridiculous.

We actually had to stop and talk it through.

It seemed so terribly wrong to pay full price, but there were other factors to consider. Like, we would have to go to another store and there's no guarantee that the prices would be lower, and we might not find something that he likes, and the attention span of an eight year old has steep curve into super irritating after the half hour mark. There was a time factor, wear and tear on the SUV, and our very sanity at stake.

In the end, we bought the shoes, but felt terrible about it.

And now I have to go learn a Katie Perry song.

Cause that's my job.

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