Sunday, November 15, 2015


When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping - Wife.

SHOES! Buy one, get one free - my wife's favorite department store.

Guess what we did this weekend?  No, go ahead....
After the better part of a week's lethargy combined with the mad impulse to escape the house-as-prison, we sprang forth and invaded the department store. A sale is sometimes indicated by anything from nothing at all to mad American-style consumerism. Mad American-style consumerism is perfectly illustrated by the sale at Walmart, a few years back, that wound up with one dead in the mad rush to get a deal on a flat screen television. It looked like a large, wild herd of cattle, moving through a small gate that is completely incapable of admitting a herd, no less a small grouping or a few members of an old persons' shuffleboard group. It was a horrid study of herd mentality and naked greed, or, as we call it, America.

Upon entering the store, we looked to one side to find nothing at all. The other side, however, caused me to immediately utter, "PIRANHA!" And piranha it was. There had to be about a hundred people descending on a rather small shoe area, devouring everything in their path. It was not safe to get within a few inches of any part of the group, lest we get clipped, bitten or shredded. And this was only the old ladies. Heaven forbid two or four people eye the same pair.. the riot police would have to be called in.

What made this particular mob slightly more dangerous was the presence of men. Yes, the store made the tragic mistake of putting men's shoes on sale too. I hate to sound optimistic (ever) but this mis-shot would have been infinitely more dangerous if it were the other way 'round. A mostly bumbling group of men, waiting for their wives to tell them what they wanted, when suddenly a women's sale is announced, completely stampeding the poor males of the species and leaving them with no direction whatsoever.

But the women are truly the worst. Professional women, turned menacing shrews, prowl the inventory for just the right hooker shoes or, better yet, the right deal on the right hooker shoes, baring their teeth in an age-old display of Shopping Dominance. I saw a touchy-feely social worker rip the head off a baby, to distract its mother, in order to get those black pumps in a size seven.

And speaking of size seven, if you have feet that are sized in any size that isn't seven, you're going to spend a lot of time looking, generally in a futile endeavor (endeavour for our British readers). And they complain that Americans aren't multi-lingual.  Apparently the Shoe Industry thinks all women fit into a range of sizes between six and eight. If women have the misfortune to have feet outside of the Recommended Sizes, they're essentially screwed. Or forever doomed to haunt the shoe aisles, in search of the last pair of really hot boots, which are only available in mustard yellow or blue. While blue boots are not a problem for shoppers whose hair they match, most people tend to flee in the opposite direction. My wife, being of my general height, failed miserably in having a dainty size seven foot. We are thankful that both feet are the same size. Did you know that women's breasts aren't generally the same size? I study this stuff.

Ladies, this part's for you: I am not afraid to go shopping with my wife. She says I'm of great assistance, as I know what she likes and can usually pick out something she might have missed. After she found a pair of boots she liked, I pointed at another table, ringed with a particularly deadly breed of piranha, upon which sat the perfect set of boots [swoon]. Wife was most impressed, they actually fit, and off we were, to the Endless Line. Now when I say actually fit, I mean one of them actually fit. The other was nowhere to be found, hence the Line Without End. The place was so loopy that there was a line for getting the other shoe or other size plus a line to bring back the other size. It was mind-boggling and a little bit frightening.

I understand that all shoes must be tried on because a size nine might be bigger than a ten. Women's sizes are apparently applied by monkeys throwing size tags at random clothing. Whatever sticks is the size. Monkeys also fling poo, but those clothes go back to the industrial washers without sizes.

While this was going on, I tried to maintain what appeared to be a safe distance. My personal space is generally about twenty feet in any direction. I had to lower this to two feet, which started the sweating and shaking, as my fight or flight response kicked in. And I would definitely had fled, if I weren't afraid that my motion would be misinterpreted as a special deal and I disappear in a sea of piranha, with only my bones for my wife to have sent home to her in a (not shoe) box.

Perhaps in a display of what the store really cared about, the line for the cash register ended at the cash register. There was NO ESCAPE after paying. At that point, they had no responsibility for the life and safety of their customers. We somehow managed to escape, with the aid of a saleslady who took pity on me, seeing the amount of bags my wife made me carry. I suggested 'piranha' to her, which prompted a minute or two of a story about taking her son to that movie. Confused but grateful, we ran for the exit.

Unfortunately we ran the wrong way. I suspect this wasn't the wrong way for my wife, as it opened up into a mall.. There is some sort of magic force that pulls her in the direction of SHOPPING. This is a lady who will instinctually go the wrong way out of a store. A few miles down the mall, she spotted a Choo Choo Charlie's. This is an undeniable attraction, similar to the way a jungle cat pounces on a live buffalo or convenient sofa. This is a store that a man cannot possibly understand and is better off staying outside, checking email and surfing the exciting world of internet pop-ups. The store has twenty-five displays. On each display is the same merchandise in one color. There was a red display, a turquoise display, a blue display and several other colors that a man cannot distinguish or name. Unfortunately, staying outside of the store causes the man a conundrum; whether it's safer to stay outside or to follow her inside to prevent more damage to the bank balance. Fortunately we escaped unscathed.

Until we came upon the Shoe Store. This was a different shoe store, therefore it merited further inspection. And what did our eyes spy in the first aisle? The fringy black suede moccasin boots we've been searching for all our adult lives. Whee! For anybody counting, we're now effectively at buy two, get one free, from buy one, get one free. Everywhere we went, there were salesladies enablers. "But we can't be done shopping - you still have arm space!" she observed excitedly.

Bruised and battered, we made it home. Then we went over things she bought but did not necessarily remember (every day is Christmas when you're highly dissociative).

Ultimately, the joke's on her - next week is the guitar show.

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