Where am I?
Lost in the depths of retail, I'm afraid. Seeing as I've apparently blanked out last year's "holiday" season, I'd guess that it was almost as bad. Several people have told me this year is worse. One person told me he had seen in person what he had seen only in movies - two cars trying to pull into the same parking spot and refusing to yield. Much hand gesturing.
Myself, it took over an hour to get a parking space yesterday, the dread Saturday-before-Christmas. I'd gone out pretty early and carefully planned my trip to avoid major shopping areas and intersections until I had to. First stop was an independently owned shop where I was one of two customers. I went to one smaller mall and found a spot right away, but then I don't mind walking. Went in, bought my stuff, was able to check out without a line. Ok, I thought!
Decided to go to the mall I work, with a couple hours to kill, do a little shopping, get a decent lunch and be ready to go. Instead I spent an hour in the parking lot. Finally** I found a less travelled aisle and just put it in neutral and waited. As people got into a car a couple cars away, two cars came down the aisle, one from each direction. I sent out clear and loud thoughts of "you have to be crazy if you think you're getting this spot" and with that I pulled into it, giving the departing car a cheery wave.
Many hours later I went for a short walk in the mall, just for a snack and encountered a woman I knew from a long-ago work. She was wandering around looking a bit stunned. We had a nice chat about the "want" lists of people. It's a bit much we agreed looking for cuff links for a young boy who you know is going to lose them. (I wondered to myself who would IRON the shirt that the cuff links go into?)
When I came out at 12:30 AM - yes the mall was open til midnight on this last great shopping day before the big holiday - the stars were brightly reflected in the parking lot ice, there was plenty of parking available, and walked far across to my car listening to other mall workers chatting about their day's experiences. Happy holidays.
** This post made possible by one of my co-workers who recommended I try listening to Pat Metheny's new album (iTunes users click here others click here.) Thanks to my co-worker no one was injured in the parking lot and I arrived at work pretty calm and cheery.