Friday, December 23, 2005

penultimate night of the old world

Last night after we dropped Mom off at work, the kids and I went to the Mall to finish up last minute shopping “dad style”. I did not procrastinate this year, but true to the laws of nature (ML-167), regardless of the amount of lead time taken by a man in buying gifts for his wife, if any item is ordered it shall be out-of-stock, even if listed as in-stock, and, also, regardless of lead time, shall remain back ordered until time is full and the occasion for which the gift was purchased has sufficiently passed. This being the case yet again this year, I rose to the task, and re-ordered one item from another retailer, and set about remedying the other with “dad-style” mall shopping in “mom-style” conditions.
As we passed by the mall on the Interstate and looked down on the traffic patterns and the parking lots, Will said, “dad, you really sure about this mall excursion?” He wanted to park far away and walk to the mall. I declined.
We arrived unscathed, having driven among the scores of women bullying their way into the parking lots while talking on their cell phones and applying make-up and driving with their knees, dodging the other dad-style shoppers squealing tires, talking on their cell phones receiving instructions from their wives, and making vulgar gestures to all the teenagers, male and female, who honestly did not realize that there was anyone else within 10 blocks of them.
“Are you ready for Christmas?” each clerk said as we stepped up to the register. “I am, but it really has nothing to do with what I’m doing here.”
Christmas will come and be accomplished regardless of who’s ready and watching. We’re all running around here signing our names at counters, registering our numbers, showing our IDs, being vouched for by banks, being approved and accounted for, like we’re a part of some kind of census or something. Rushing, no room in the parking lots, bustling, indulging - while quietly, behind the scenes, back in the service corridors, a young woman, tired from the bustling and bursting with abundant life, lies down to birth the new world.
If the musak were drowned out by a million angelic voices, and an invitation was issued over the mall speaker system, “to you is born in the service corridors… you will find the babe wrapped in discarded tissue paper and lying in a shipping crate…”, I really don’t know if we would hear. If we did, would we leave our shopping bags unattended in the primary hallways, and make haste to the cluttered mall alleys? Or would we clutch our plunder and say, “I’m sorry, it’s Christmas, I haven’t time to look at a baby born in the service corridor.” Time’s a-wasting.”

to be continued