Sunday, February 19, 2006

Deb goes to the mall...

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.


oa said...

So let's see if I understand this. You invited all of us up to your place for some fine music, family antics and hot chili, and then you went to town? To the mall? While we sat frigid on your doorstep? Hm. . . It's almost as if you thought no one would take you up on your delightful invitation, eh? My part of Kansas has seen highs of 15F, 16F, with a low of 0 this week-end. Frankly, that's cold enough for me. So, thanks anyway!

Liz said...

My dad just got me the Sibley guide, and I'm wishing he got me the Eastern one. Of course, I can't even exchange it because he wrote a note inside the cover. It's a stunning book, though.

I hear you on malls... yuck.

madcapmum said...

What a duplicitous hermit you've got on your hands! You've been malled against your wishes! My library is trapped in a mall. I'm not quite as traumatized by them as you are, but still, they're not my first choice.

I'm glad you consoled yourself at the beerstore, though. We're starting a wine-making project here this weekend, so if you're ever this way we can offer you a cup of consolation ourselves.

Floridacracker said...

I love Sams, but I can't remember the last time I was in a mall. Their overhead is so high that the prices scare me off.

karl said...

the closest we have been to a mall is the outlet mall. we usually devine the shortest path from the car to desired store and walk very quickly.

but the dreaded .25 cent bob the builder ride usually cannot be avoided. arragh...

Rexroth's Daughter said...

When we have to make our dreaded trips to the mall (which is rare), we park our car as far from the entrance as possible. That way we can walk, breathe air, and see sky for as long as possible before we have go inside. Once in there we stay on our mission. I am over-stimulated immediately. I don't want to buy stuff, I want to run outside. When we are finished, we take the long walk back to the car. By the time we get there, we are almost feeling like our normal selves.

Hope you enjoy Sibleys.

Deb said...

oa- well, we did leave the door open!

Liz- I wanted to get the big guide, but the field guide edition fit my budget better.

madcap- Wine making, how fun! Hope it turns out good.

floridacracker- I've got this love hate thing going with Sam's, but it does beat the mall by a long shot.

karl- Welcome! That's my shopping style exactly. The hardest part is teaching my children, especially my daughter, that stores try to trick you into buying more than you came there for.

RD- I find it amazing how many people will drive around and around, searching for the closest parking spot, when there are plenty of spaces available if you're willing to walk a little.

larry said...

I'm all for avoiding malls, but worse than a mall imagine Duluth without that big bookstore. When I lived there that bookstore was a bog.

LauraHinNJ said...

While the large edition Sibley's is wonderful, the field guide version fits in a back pocket. Hope you'll enjoy it.