Subject: Flow with the go

Date: 15 Jul 1996 00:00:00 GMT

From: 1Ol01O@radix.net (MegaLiz)

Organization: MotPU: Where Binary Moodswings are ALWAYS on the Menu

Newsgroups: alt.foot.fat-free, alt.slack

 

 

 

 

Today our mission was shoes. Good shoes. (Banal alert! Please, don't

read any more of this if you have no stomach for stinky little feet).

 

For our first stop, we visit the post-apocalptic mall in our northern,

not-so-beautiful suburb. A town where, as my grandfather used to tell

it, all the kids who aren't in jail should be. We flit through Hecht's

mainly because Sparky loves the escalators and finally I ask a

not-so-knowledgeable looking salesperson about kids shoes. "We don't

have none," she says, and then adds, prompted by my expectant yet

exasperated expression, "The one way on the end has some kids' shoes."

Sparky says she doesn't want to walk there and neither do I.

 

Inspiration strikes me as we duck into the car and slam down the

locks. We can go to Nordstroms! I want GOOD shoes for her this time,

dammit. I hush her and meditate my route. This is always a crucial

step in any of my excursions, as my navigation is...well, usually I

carry LOTS of maps.

 

We make our way to the upscale, eastward suburban monstrosity of

merchandize. I hate malls, but this one is so nice that we are usually

tailed by people with things tucked discretely in their ears if we

don't dress up a bit. This is a place that promises a "shopping

experience." I get reckless and promise even more: a trip to Habitrail

Hell. Sparky is like Smud in my hands. We get efficient and courteous

service from a tired but game young shoe salesman and are toting TWO

perfect pairs of shoes out of there after only ten minutes of

effortless pointing and nodding. I love Nordstromites. These people

KNOW THINGS.

 

Then tragedy strikes. There are moments in parenting when you just

have to look into those brimming little eyes and say something like,

"Sorry, honey, Mama doesn't know shit from anything else." There is no

Habitrail Hell in this mall. No second best substitute like Lactose

Rodent. I FAILED.

 

Not to be discouraged by this, I decide to fail some more. We hunker

down in the van once more and with hesitation I sketch the mental map

to reach Sparky's heart's desire. The middling northwestern mall that

used to be the spiffiest thing around must be the place.

 

At this point I should mention that all this is not entirely my fault.

My habitat consists of seamingly endless suburban patches punctuated

by "downtowns" full of highrise buildings distinguishing themselves by

nothing much. Every area around here looks like every other area. You

only know when you've crossed into D.C. because the traffic signals

are suddenly on poles and you WILL run a red light 'cause you were

looking UP, suburban idiot. Additionally all the main roads are named

for states. I went for Georgia instead of Wisconsin, so kill me.

 

We reach the second oldest mall in the state, the oldest being the one

near my house, which we discounted before we left the driveway. "Is

this another Wrong Mall?" asks Sparky. Yes, I say it's a very wrong

mall. I make a collect call from a broken pay phone while Sparky

watches a dead goldfish in a little fountain. I think I've finally got

a route now, but have to deny her urge to bring the goldfish with us

before we can peel outta there.

 

Up to this point we survived only on cookies and hope, but within

minutes we are orbiting the RIGHT mall, and soon after we are riding

in the glass elevator and then we enter the gates of Hell. Hell is a

nice place, with a stiff price and concessions. No shoes are allowed

in Hell, and I am reminded of this when I go poking around looking for

Sparky while I am still wearing my sandals. They will provide socks at

the front desk of Hell, but there's so much I have to learn. Sparky

has a wonderful hour, sweating on strange children and slamming

herself into piles of germy plastic balls.

 

While looking for Sparky again, I hear a man calling out Spunky's

name. This is a first, so I ask him about his daughter. She's just

Spunky's age, exactly her age. We are all amazed at the coincidence

and the mother insists that we exchange phone numbers to mark the

occasion. They are journalists, and I am thrilled. They are very

friendly, so they must be new arrivals to town.

 

We are permitted to leave Hell, just as soon as some burger-chomping

teenager sees fit to retrieve the shoes, Sparky stops me to adjust her

socks for the sixth time, and just as I'm ready to complain about it

for the first time, two enormous security guards buzz the spot where

we were just going to be, dashing to some sort of emergency

shoplifting incident. They pass so close in front of us that it

ruffles my nose hair. I congratulate Sparky on saving us and make a

mental note not to hassle her about her sock problems, ever.

 

My advice of the day: Keep your promises, DO talk to strangers, and

fix your socks whenever the spirit moves you.

 

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