He tricked me, I tell ya.
The urge to drive to Duluth hit yesterday. It seemed like a better option than all of us staying inside all day, and we wanted a few things from Evil Sam's. The Hermit also had a pair of sunglasses that needed fixing, and the store where he purchased them has a nice lifetime warranty. It also happens to be in a shopping mall.
I don't do shopping malls anymore. I have little need to expose myself and my kids to the crass consumerism, the "shopping as pastime" aspect of it. I admit I enjoyed malls as a teenager, and even worked in one for a while. But that part of my life is undeniably over, and I don't think I had set foot inside a shopping mall for several years.
But this shopping mall happens to have a major chain bookstore that I like. I like small, independent bookstores better, but they are becoming a rare commodity these days what with online bookstores and all. (I'm not mentioning names because that leads to hits from people searching for the names, and free advertising for the corporations involved.) So I agreed to the condition that the kids and I would be able to spend some time browsing in the bookstore while the glasses were being fixed.
Ha! Little did I realize (and how could I realize? I don't know how this mall is laid out because I DON'T DO MALLS!) that the eyeglass shop and the bookstore are at opposite ends of the mall. The Hermit parked close to the eyeglass shop, which meant the kids and I had to walk thru the entire mall to get to the bookstore! Arrrgh! Talk about overstimulation, from one who is easily overstimulated. I remember little, except that (insert name of national chain lingerie store here) was a bad dream of Pepto Bismol pink. That, and for some reason there were $20,000 pontoon boats on display at various places in the walkways. And from everywhere in the neon lights and the mannequins in the windows I thought I could hear the faint cry: "Buy me! Come on, you deserve it. You need it. You're worth it." Maybe that's why some people find such great satisfaction hanging out in malls. It's the one place they feel like they are worth it, if they only buy this or that.
I ignored the cries and made a beeline for the bookstore, which was too crowded for my liking. Calvin immediately went to the Calvin and Hobbes collection, Starflower and Mr. Attitude browsed the kids' section, and I looked through the "Nature" section. Remembering that I had not purchased a new bird guide in about 20 years, and having heard good things about it, I picked up a copy of The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America. I deserved it. I was worth it. When those warblers come migrating through in the spring, I'll be ready.
Luckily, The Hermit drove around to the bookstore entrance to pick us up so I did not have to endure another hike through the belly of the mall. Then it was down the hill to downtown, enjoying the spectacular view of Lake Superior along the way and fantasizing what it would be like to ride a skateboard down the steep streets. And off to my favorite stop, the beer store, then a few groceries and then headed home.