Monday, December 22, 2008

It's All Over But the Wrapping

Thank frigging God, the Christmas shopping is done! I plan on not going anywhere near any retail establishment for the next 10 days at the very least. (I wish I could include my place of employment in that moratorium, but that's probably not going to be doable.) I've even done the grocery shopping to get us through until the 30th, maybe the 31st. I could probably get through the entire rest of the winter if not for my family's penchant for milk, bread and fresh fruit. ("Come on kids! It will be like pioneer times! I'm sure scurvy isn't as bad as you'd think! You could stand to lose a couple of teeth!")

The weather here has been terrible the past week or so, with a few snow squalls and storm systems wreaking havoc on people's shopping plans. The result is that every single person who celebrates Christmas went out today to get stuff done. Including me. Stupid me.

The roads were still very slushy and snowy, with the result that people just ignored the possibility of lanes, and just drove wherever they damn well pleased. The snowbanks in parking lots meant that there were fewer spots than usual, and somewhere along the line, people got the idea that if there isn't a parking spot available, you could just invent one and park there. Also, when it is snowy and people are desperate to get their shopping done, they stop driving with any degree of civility or really does go against the spirit of the season to steal someone's parking spot. I was ready to have an aneurysm by the time we got home.

I'm not sure why Christmas is such a surprise to everyone every year; it's clearly marked on the calendar, and God knows the retail industry starts reminding us of December 25th somewhere around November the 1st. But every year, it's the same crush just before the day. I remember working in retail, many moons ago, and we were open until 3 o'clock on Christmas Eve. Inevitably, the store would be full of frantic, desperate men who would, quite literally, buy anything you put into their hands. ("Here, take this $4oo Complete Works of Beethoven set that we've had hanging around since May! Your wife will love it!")

Now the only thing I have to do is get something for myself, from the Mister. (We decided a long time ago to buy our own Christmas presents for ourselves. It saves me from getting Vegas-showgirl earrings, and him from getting a game he already has.) But at least I don't have to go out to get it for another 10 days or so.

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