Things I Learned at the Mall
It’s a good idea to visit your city’s biggest mall more than a couple times a decade if, for nothing else, than to miss out on that feeling that you’ve been missing out.
I used to love to shop. In particular, I wanted to be in the center of the action, where the biggest stores with the most delectable selection were located. Don’t give me a rinky-dink suburban branch; I want the flagship store or nada. I want choices!
Then, I had babies, they never stopped crying – ever, the world shuddered on its axis, and never settled down the same way again. My mall days were over.
I was forced back to my former stomping ground today because, well, I stomped on my sunglasses.
I cannot exist without sunglasses. I, however, do not have a sunglasses face: It takes several professionals with hundreds of styles at their fingertips to match one pair to my oddly-shaped head. Thus, no internet, no tiny store with ten styles would do. It was off to the mall. The big one.
The babies are four and six now, so they have finally stopped crying. But they are four and six. They do other things not particularly compatible with public comfort.
Our trip to The Sunglass Hut was like no other.
I sometimes think about how I would market myself, should I re-enter the paying workforce and one thing I would emphasize is my lightning quick decision-making ability. A fussing baby and a curious toddler in the grocery store really hone your quick thinking skills. I can calculate a per unit price, read a list of ingredients, and weigh convenience vs. BPA status in a nano-second. Thank you, tiny primates, jumping off the shopping cart and flailing wildly down the aisle with jars of marinara and pickles in your chubby hands.
Twice, this week, I felt like Supermom. Once, as I navigated Trader Joe’s holding a 40 pound sleeping child (I got rid of the stroller: now he learns to nap!) while the older one rammed the shopping cart into innocent people just looking for the hummus. I shopped for 20 minutes this way and never lost my cool. I felt vaguely as though I might be on some sort of Stepford Mom high but I wasn’t. I was Supermom.
And today. At the mall. The big one. The one you don’t go to without full makeup and either something with a wedge heel or an intentionally caszh flip flop insinuating your cool Beach Girl status. I went in sneakers, my cleanest dirty socks, last century’s jean shorts and a formerly artsy-cool Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt I discovered has holes under the arms. Behold: My fabulousness.
Cute Banker and I went together because that’s the only way to attempt to handle life with small children. And besides, he had lost his sunglasses a year ago. And he had a coupon. So, we simultaneously shopped for new ones while parenting our wiggly offspring.
We were presented a parade of shades by the naively optimistic staff. We instantly narrowed our choices – thinner frames, larger lenses, brown not black (don’t judge me by my current hair color – it’s called grow-out, ok??) Polarized? Who cares! Do I need to see my eyebrows? Well, sure. Let’s keep these under a billion dollars, kay, Sweetcheeks? Slight wrap, glam not sporty (I said don’t judge me by my current outfit), just the right size, there ya go: commission!
During this exchange, our little boys decided to explore the magic that is glass. Rows of glass lenses held gingerly by delicate frames. Glass mirrors on tender swivel hinges. Glass dreams of ever shopping in peace again, shattered by concerned looks on strangers’ faces.
But Cute Banker and I handled it. In a few moments of concentrated distraction, we each chose a pair of sunglasses, kept the kids out of the ER, prevented a lawsuit on our estate, and avoided being permanently banned by The Sunglass Hut and malls in general. Yeah!
After this large win, we strolled a bit. A victory lap around the mall. We walked, we talked, we high-fived. I bought a new bra for the first time since they needed to unlatch for easy feeding.
And I learned a few things.
Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” has turned into Muzak (disturbing).
Crate and Barrel has been replaced by Urban Outfitters (I can’t decide how I feel about this).
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, when wearing the correct undergarment, I am “young again.” Upon hearing this, I silently put a curse upon the saleslady’s house. Then, I bought the bra.
Even Supermoms need a little help.