I was alone. I had no back up, no support. I braved it myself. With no thought for my own safety, my own well-being. I can’t believe I had the courage. I did. I went to a shopping mall at Christmas time!
Now to some people it might not sound like that big a deal. I know, I know, a little retail therapy. There were specific items I needed to pick up and unfortunately the only place to do that was in ……a mall. Shudder! I find malls to be a questionably obligatory evil of modern society.
I needed a couple of candles, red of course. I needed suction hooks for my window, chicken stock, and most importantly stamps. I have to get my Christmas cards out next week. So I braved the horrors of the local mall to get the items I needed. Fortunately I had some time to sit and ‘people watch’, which I will admit is a personal guilty pleasure. But I did see some rather amusing individuals.
I was sitting watching the entrance to the mall for only a few moments when this lovely woman came in with her friend. She had a perfect little smile on her face. However it disappeared so quickly I can only assume it was gas. Her friend had no such smile. Most of the people fell into an age group that wasn’t usually working during the day. One woman I know was 82, she told me. Hey, I’ll chat with anybody that wants to talk to me. There was one child who believed it was his duty in life to make sure everyone within a 3 mile radius heard him. Ouch!
There were the individuals who hustled in and then stopped for the briefest of seconds. They would settle their shoulders, heave a big sigh and step forward as if they were going to their doom. Maybe they were: Christmas shopping! There were the women that came in in a group and none of them looked happy. They were scowling so hard it was painful to see. Obviously they were on a mission and would not be swayed by societal niceties. There were angry ones and clueless one who walked in as if they had been sniffing something illegal. And there were the timid ones. They seem to sneak in hoping no one was watching. They didn’t even open the door all the way, just enough to let them slither in.
I sat there for about 30 minutes and I could probably count on one hand the number of people that had a genuine smile on their face. That 82-year-old woman I mentioned? She had a smile that lit up the room. I guess I smiled back and that’s why she stopped and chatted with me. We talked for a few moments then she gave me a hug and I felt blessed.
Christmas is supposed to be a time of giving and of peace. None of that exists at the shopping malls. The sales staff are harried and probably exhausted. The shoppers want only to find the perfect deal and escape back to their own insanity. This season has become unhinged. We buy gifts for people who don’t really want them. We spend too much money and too little thought. The most precious time of the celebration to me is when my family is together. We enjoy each other’s company. That’s what makes Christmas special to me.