I could count on one hand the number of items on my shopping list before going to Target last weekend, yet somehow my receipt did not stop printing until it reached the length of Pau Gasol’s femur.
The list was concise and straightforward, as lists tend to be: garbage bags, alarm clock, foam roller, makeup remover, shampoo.
So how did it come to be that at one point, I had to verbally talk myself down from pulling a four-pack of Bicycle playing cards off the shelf? Why did I spend so much time deliberating between place-mats, and seriously considering whether or not I should buy a Mariners jersey?
Well, first of all, thank God I didn’t buy Mariners gear. Not only should that degree of posing (as in, actively being or exhibiting characteristics of a poser) be illegal for people who have lived in Seattle for as short a time as I have, but also… I went to a game shortly thereafter. Though I did nearly get hit in the head with a home run after staring uncomprehendingly, through the fog of three overpriced beers, at a speedily approaching baseball (something to tell my grandchildren, surely), the team really just sucks.
In other words, both rumors about Seattle are true: the weather IS certifiably crap, and the Mariners DO play like a bunch of sissies.
But nonetheless, Target, in its subtle, cunning way, had me on the cusp. It had me right where it wanted me: vulnerable, tempted, intrigued, and so deep in the white-tiled bowels of the store I couldn’t have dropped everything and sprinted for the exit if I wanted to.
Of course, that’s crazy, because I didn’t want to. Not even a little bit. I had yet to reach the Office Supplies.
Notebooks, Sharpies and gel pens make me weak in the knees. Binders sing to me. Roller tips tease me, taunt me, lure me in with the promise of writing that is sensually smooth and endlessly inky. Neon highlighters beckon me, challenge me to test them out by striking through the entire text of Atlas Shrugged. I can’t say why exactly… maybe it’s nostalgia for those first days of school, when a trip to Staples felt like a very specific type of Christmas. Or maybe it’s that these aisles invite me (and you too, probably, I know I’m not alone) into the irresistible illusion that starting RIGHT NOW, I could become outrageously, pathologically organized.
… all I’d have to do is feed that insatiable red-mouthed beast they call Target…
Anyway, I abstained. I’m safe… for now. But turns out I got the wrong kind of garbage bags, and I have to go back and exchange them.
Now that I think about it… maybe it was a subconsciously intentional error planted in my brain by subliminally communicated messages sent out over the loudspeakers to ensure my speedy return. Maybe I’ll just keep these garbage bags out of spite. Maybe this entire post is a pedantic justification towards not having to haul my ass back to that money-vacuum of a store.
Before I go back to my crossword puzzle, I feel it is my duty to inform you that foam rollers are absurdly overpriced. Over forty bucks for a cylindrical chunk of Styrofoam? Thanks, Gaiam, but I’ll find another way to massage my calves.