Friday, December 24, 2010

Be Of Good CHEER, Dammit!

You want proof of life? Here it is. I am quite alive, not enjoying standing in line at StallMart. I'm stuck amongst literally a thousand shoppers whose collective wish to jam through and out of this mega-store simply because, as one tired and resigned looking guy offered when i queried whether he was in line, "yeah, i figured like anybody else in here that because it was nighttime, the joint would be empty." What a singular world we live in, eh? It all stops for you and me, but mostly for me.

The registers are down. The massive flow of profits have abruptly stopped like menopausal menstruation, depriving HQ of a merrier XMas, but only temporarily. It's not as if any of these people are going anywhere. These folks are as committed to this queue as starving Somalis are to the World Hunger Project rice line.

The registers are now where in sight. A short, thin' black man is holding a spot in line in front of me while he coordinates and communicates by bluetooth and cell. "Just come to your left. Wait: did you back up? You should be able to see the GAME TRADE sign. Hullo? Hullo?" Abort, abort, abort!

I can see the register's shining beacon from my place in line, dim, but visibly indicating "10". We are moving now through disrupted and dishevled shelves littered with discarded wants and needs. Planter's Honey Roasted Nuts, in the 2 pound jar, a Conair XTreme Heat 75 second hair curler set, a two liter bottle of Minute Maid Lemonade are incongruously displayed along what's left on the jeggings display. Those are $3.50, if you can find one in your size. A burly guy scoots me forward so that he can assume his cart's place in line. More than one cart behind me is overloaded with a 32, 44 or 50 inch flat-screen TV. In the cart immediately ahead, having arrived and docked through the skillful guidance of Mr. Tiny Black Fellow, bears a 4€ Dora the Explorer 2 Piece cotton sleepwear set and an Oster 12 speed blender Deluxe.

I don't see: puppies, gingerbread men, eggnog, yule logs or even wrapping paper. Wait: scratch that. There's a cart loaded to overflowing being pushed by a seemingly good-natured Indian woman (she's wearing a sari and blue jeans) with exactly two rolls of wrap. She's going to need more, i'm thinking.

Still, where's that Dickensian patina, that "Zuzu's petals . . ." Moment that should be front and center at this very moment? Why do i smell cinnamon and mulled wine scents replaced by the odor of vomit, or is that coming from the in-store Subway's personal pizza output? Oh, yes, God, ech, that's it.

The wail of babies who know damn well that they're up too late echos off the corrugated steel ceiling. They don't want to be here anymore than i do. I'd rather be with you, sipping, nay, guzzling that mulled wine, watching the Yule Log burn, baby, burn. But that's not going to happen, is it. Nope. Trapped. Like a rat. Like a rat on the sinking ship of good cheer.

My feet are starting to hurt and. The line is moving. Hallelujah.

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