Saturday, October 29, 2005

Halloween Horrors

I am going to a Halloween Party tonight. Nothing like waiting for the last minute to find a costume to wear. I will leave in a couple of hours to shop, running in and out of stores, crazy-eyed by the time this afternoon is through. Why do I always wait until the end?

I wait to do my Christmas shopping at the last minute as well. I really do hope this year will be different.

I have been a Costco member for years now. I pay my yearly fee in anticipation of finding really good bargains, but I rarely ever enter the store.

I feel very special when I first enter the warehouse. I flash my Costco card at the folks by the door and they nod me in as though I'm in a very special elite club. The first thing I see are the plasma TVs and I stop and stare with the others... before walking on. I feel hopeful and excited and happy I am there.

And then. I turn the corner and remember why I don't come in very often. The crowds! They can be a frightening lot. Especially before the holidays.

It was 2003. In a crazy moment of last minute Christmas shopping, I stopped in there to buy a few things. It was my last time there.

I was nearly done with my shopping when I tried to lean in to pick up a THE SIMS HOUSE PARTY computer game off the table for my niece. But doing so, caused someone to accidently drop their free sample of cider on my shirt. They offered me their sticky napkin covered in cinnamon swirl cake crumbs to absorb the juice, but the crumbs started to stain my shirt. I leaned in again while a child decides to hop for joy and clips me in my chin which felt as painful as a decapitation. In fact, a clear decapitation would have been less painful. There were so many people packed in, I pushed my somewhat full cart three aisles over and parked it. Returning back to the table was a feat in itself. After a few elbow digs in the rib, and someone stepping on my shoe, causing me to step out of it and then the horror of dropping down to the floor to reclaim my shoe was about as much drama I needed that day. I asked someone close to the table to grab me the game. And once I had it in my hands, I went looking for my shopping cart. It was gone. I think I saw a crazy-eyed lady with four kids clutching on her purple coat with fur around her neck, pushing it. I didn't have the heart to tell her it was mine.

So I carried that game to the end of the store to pay for it. It didn't take long to get there, as the lines were halfway down the store. I counted I was the 14th person in line. Everyone had carts overflowing in super-sized cereal boxes, detergents, tents, kayaks, exercise equipments, computers and clothes. I looked down at my small game and looked back at the long lines and then back down at my game. I lost to the lines. I looked around quickly to see if anyone was looking and then left The Sims House Party game behind me on top of a large plastic jar of red licorice.

Today I will visit the Dollar Store, Big Lots!, The Goodwill and the temporary Halloween Shop. Each store I will visit will undoubtedly look like a small cyclone has hit it. The stores will be crowded. Nothing will be on the shelves. I will most likely show up late to the party trying to get ready. I will apologize for whoever I am and have the best excuse in the book. While they spent weeks preparing for their costume, I only had a couple of hours. I will have a reason why my costume looks the way it does.

Being an artist, people expect more out of me. They expect me to have the best costume. To have the best gift-wrapped package. To have the dinner table set in a dramatic way. It's an expectation I don't want to meet. So I guess I'll continue with lame excuses why I had to wait for the last minute to get anything done. Not that I ever have to come up with one. I procrastinate well enough on my own.

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