I love Christmas. I love the music. I love the festivities. I love telling people Merry Christmas. I actually love going to the mall at Christmas time. I love the energy and the decorations and even the litany of weird crap that somebody in marketing at some company thinks I’m going to be sucker enough to buy for my loved ones. During the rest of the year we only go the mall to give the kids somewhere to run around and get their energy out. Occasionally Taela and I will buy ourselves a Jamba Juice (me: Razzmatazz, her: Strawberry Surfrider or Aloha Pineapple), but typically we just walk around and let the kids play and we’re too cheap to buy anything. Christmas time is kind of a game changer. There are sales that make things at the mall worth the asking price.
Tell me this though, who of you out there are encouraging these foreign kiosk vendors by purchasing their overpriced, Made in China, fad items after they accost you? You’re walking along and having a nice conversation with your companion and “Ma’am, would you like to have soft, smooth skin?” Listen, Maurice…where I come from when a pretty man with a fauxhawk and a white v-neck tight enough so I can see every muscle and both nipples approaches your wife and tries to rub her hand he gets a dirty look and some very harsh words under my breath that you didn’t hear as I walked away and wished I had the cojones to say to your face! When did the mall turn into a foreign tourist market?
Last weekend, on Black Saturday if there is such a thing, Taela and I took the kids to the mall…for dinner. We ended up eating at Carl’s Jr. Well, actually Taela went to Charley’s Crappy Subs which by name alone should have been an indicator to move on to the next lousy food option. I was able to enjoy most of my delicious greasy burger until guilt overtook me and I gave what I had left to my lovely wife who could choke down no more of Charley’s contraption. Dear Charley: learn how to make a good sandwich and learn how to spell your name.
We actually did some shopping after dinner. I actually got 10 years younger by purchasing my first pair of American Eagle jeans. It was Taela’s suggestion and at 40% off everything in the store I had to take a shot. While I was admiring my new found youth in the fitting room mirror, Taela took all of the kids to the bathroom. After they came back I had my age-defying denim in a bag and we took a walk into Macy’s. It’s my favorite mall store. Why? I can get relatively nice clothes on super clearance. That’s really the only reason I like any store: moderate quality, low price.
Well, while we were in Macy’s little Micah had a diaper blowout. I suggested Taela take him to the restroom at the back of the store. She said she’s rather find a spot to change him in the stroller than use one of those community plastic boards where every slob puts their poopy kid. She didn’t say it like that, but I could sense her germophobia hanging out a little as she said it. So I suggested she still head back to the restrooms because there is a nice sitting area outside. You are probably thinking “that’s nice, a sitting area is a convenient accommodation.” In this case you’re right. Macy’s has a nice one. There is also a sitting area outside the restrooms in the food court. Whereas Macy’s sitting area is akin to “What a nice cushy seat to rest upon until my family has completed the expulsion of their waste” the food court’s sitting area is more like “oh my God, we’re so 16 years old and we should sit on each others laps and make out and see if anyone notices…I think I saw it on American Pie: Band Camp or something. Does anyone have a flute?” and “grunt…I’m 65 and live with my mother and sitting here watching these teens is so much better than buying dirty magazines at the Gas ‘n Sip.”
Anyway, I was left alone with the two older kids this time as I’m looking through shirts on the clearance rack (65% off!). I was doing my usual: let them run around and hide in and under store displays just enough so nobody says anything and not quite enough so that it disrupts other customers. Then Caleb came up and said “I have to go to the bathroom”. Me: “Didn’t you just go 10 minutes ago?” Caleb: “Yes, but now I have to go again.” Me: “Is it poop this time?” Caleb: “Uhh…”. So I start walking briskly to the back of the store…I’ve learned to walk briskly when taking kids to bathrooms.
We arrive at the sitting area and nobody is there. Taela must have been walking back to the men’s shirts…I hope she doesn’t have to wait/look for me for too long. Caleb says he can go in by himself, but I’m the son of a police officer and probation officer/presentence investigator…I need to make sure nobody’s in there first. So we all three walk in and sure enough some dude is in there doing his business in one of the sit down stalls. Instantly I’m thinking he’s enormous and hairy and he probably has a deep voice and a nickname they gave him in at the state pen so I usher Tenley into a corner that’s out of the way and I wait because my 7 year old son is not pooping alone with this fella.
Caleb heads into the unoccupied stall and starts doing what you do in the bathroom and then I hear it. Like the soft sound of a baby cooing. Must have been my imagination. I hear baby noises all the time since we have a baby, right? Then Tank, the guy in the adjacent stall, unlatches the stall door and shoves his way out of the stall toward the sink. Wait…that guy doesn’t look so tough. Wait…that guy doesn’t look like a guy. Wait…that’s my WIFE!
Taela: “What are you doing in here?!!?!?!?!?!!?” Me: “What are YOU doing in here?!?!??!!” Tenley: “Tee hee hee”. Caleb: “Plop”. Me: “This is the men’s room.” Taela: “No it’s not.” Me: “I’ll go check again.” I turn and start walking out the door and I hear Taela say “oh, there’s the urinal” and I see this blur go rushing past me that looks vaguely like my wife and my baby’s stroller.
I don’t know if there’s a moral here, but it might be that if you’re a woman the men’s room is good enough to do your business in but afterward you should go to the ladies room to wash your hands? Christmas is such a magical time.