Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Knight (er 2) Before Christmas

I like Christmas. I did as a kid. I still do as an adult, even though I work 'em more often than not.
But there is one part of Christmas I can definitely do without: the shopping-for-gifts part. Hum, bahbug. More on that in a mo'.
One of the up and coming blogs I visit -- Da Pixie Pages -- did a rather revealing expose recently on Christmas, as it regards party and gift preparation, and how it was largely a task one gender is ill-prepared to handle. Speaking as one of that gender that has been judged ill-prepared at handle-ance, I am here to take a stand and speak on at least my own defense, if not that of my gender at large.
I plead guilty as analyzed ;-)
I much prefer to leave party planning, preparation, gift selecting, getting and wrapping -- especially wrapping, as my family knows from some of my forest-ravaging wrapping expeditions -- to those more emotionally prepared and hardened in the ways and wiles of, what I will call, "hard Target combat pre-and-post shopping". It leaves me better prepared for the task to which I am more genetically suited: eating pie and watching holiday football games.
It was not always thus with me.
Some years ago -- the number is not as important as is the fact I haven't yet erased the memory -- I found myself in a sit-ee-ation that apparently many of my gender find themselves in: Christmas less than a week away, and I ain't got squat bought. And I didn't care. Truth be told, I wasn't worried. Stores were open later. There was time. Get there, get in, get out, just as I always did when I shopped any other time of the year. Hooha.
There was time, alright: time to learn the hazards of desperate, last-minute Christmas shopping and shoppers. And much had this grasshoppah to learn, including commuting to the store from the parking lot. I finally found a spot on Christmas Eve; I had started looking on the 22nd. I wasn't trained or prepared for what amounted to close-quarters, mano-a-mano combat over what was left on the shelves, like when I happened to be in the path of a full-court press for what I thought I heard to be "the last tickle my elbow doll" on a shelf I happened to be in the way of. I never did see what it was; the shopper momster that blindsided me left me in the Tupperware aisle, and I had no idea where it was, let alone how I got from where I'd been.
All I know is, that's why everyone got Tupperware that particular Christmas, and I digress.
So the next year, I decided to prepare. I didn't bother to return the suit of armor I'd borrowed for Halloween that year, figuring that when it was time for Christmas shopping this year, I'd be impervious to momster "tickle my elbow" stampedes, or whatever.
This time, I started looking for a parking spot on the morning of the 22nd, and found one by mid-afternoon. Then began the laborious process of donning the armor, which had to wait until I got out of the car. I correctly reckoned I couldn't have gotten out, if donned aforehand.
My first minor miscalculation was in reaching the store from the car: I was out in the "North 40" parking lot of the maul*, a nice brisk hike to the nearest maul* entrance. In about 150 lbs of armor, I moved like a tank that'd thrown a track. I made it to the doors at closing time.
It wasn't a difficult decision for me to wait for opening on the 23rd; it'd of taken 'til just about then to get back to my car.
Once the store opened the next morning, I clanked on in, and promptly discovered that my view through the helmet visor was obstructed: all the suddenly-wailing sirens indicated I'd walked in through the exit, and tripped every 'theft' detector therein. Thenceforth, I at least shopped with the visor 'up'.
Ever shop in a suit of armor? Try reaching for anything. At least I was spared the dings and boinks as I was bumped into by badly-pushed shopping carts of the late and frantic. Long as I didn't fall over, anyway. Which I didn't think was possible, save for me tripping on something.
*Buzzer* Wrong..
Finally, as late afternoon of the 23rd was giving way to darkness, I had my cart, laden with Christmas wares, within sight of the check out lines. Good thing too, 'cuz with the sweat I'd worked up inside the armor, I was rusting from the inside out, and squeaking worse than a door in a horror flick. No one could miss my approach, or so I deluded myself.
It was then that I was hit from behind, and landed, armored keister-first, in a manically-driven, shopper momster cart, probably squashing everything that had preceded me therein. Despite my protestations -- I couldn't move, just rustily squeak and clank -- the female shopper was not of a mind to stop and "put me back on the shelf", even as I explained in more colorfully metaphoric language that I wasn't off the f***ing shelf.
It wasn't until I was unceremoniously whisked into a checkout line in a cart that was screaming to be liberated from 375 lbs of generally dead weight (me and the armor), that the clerk began to suspect something was amiss with the "toy knight with a potty mouth", when she couldn't scan me...I had no barcode. The shopper thence immediately began demanding a replacement for me, as I was "clearly defective". Shortly thereafter -- when it was finally determined that I was not a "50% off" item and my defects were not by Mattel, store security rescued me with a forklift, and I -- convinced to be shorn of my armor -- managed to get out of there by the 24th.
Nowadays, I have a greater appreciation for the hardiness of holiday shoppers, and I am better prepared than ever for the rigors and demands of the season. I plan, I organize, and I move with alacrity as I shop online, at home, before Halloween.
It leaves me better prepared for what's really important on Christmas: gathering with family and friends, and leaving the pre-gather preparation to those genetically best suited for it. As Clint Eastwood once opined, "a man's got to know his limitations".
And have I ever learned mine. Each Christmas since, I stick to what I am genetically best at: eating pie and watching football.
* a curious maulamorphosis that takes place from the day after Thanksgiving, to the last of the post-Christmas sales..also knowd as Melee Christmas..


Blogger Mayden' s Voyage said...

One year- which will hopefully be sooner than later, I'm booking a cruise for Mid-December to a tropical place- laying on a beach for a week, and heading back the first week of January...
Unless I get a better offer ;)

Unitl then- I'd be pretty happy with a Pina Colada and Ugly Betty re-runs on Christmas day :)

lol- sorry- this reply was a tad more honest than it might should have been! Hope you have a great weekend :)

09 December, 2008 11:17  
Blogger Da Pixie said...

Women kind are rather largly at fault fo men's fear of shopping. We enable ya'll, and now, some 200 years after we started doin' this, the male gender is completely handicap!

*Sniff* Ya'll are disabled for the rest of eternity....

Oh well. I suppose this is somethin' every woman can proudly say at the end of her life: "I did the Christmas shopping! Every single bloomin' year!"


09 December, 2008 16:36  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Pixie: for all the men who appreciate, with genuine feeling, this kind of disablement, may I say "thank you!" for the xtra pie-eating and football-watching time you have thus enabled us with! I always knowd the female of the species wuz kind-hearted ;)

*ducking boos and throwd empty pie plates*

09 December, 2008 19:21  
Blogger Serena said...

So, what about this year? To the maul on the 21st, with better armor? LOL!

09 December, 2008 19:24  
Blogger Debbie said...

Hubby and I are at the point and have been for years, where we get each other what we actually WANT for Christmas. It can be anything, practical, puppy, new carpet in the bass boat,...

Not very romantic sounding, but better than getting something you don't want and will never use.

For everyone else, I do the shopping, wrapping, decorating,...

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth</a

09 December, 2008 20:55  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Serena: dun my shopping online, to avoid adding 150 lbs and three lost days to my schedule ;)

Debbie: you just underlined and emphasized Da Pixie's point ;)

10 December, 2008 14:15  
Blogger Little Lamb said...

Shopping online is an option and fun to do.

10 December, 2008 15:51  
Blogger Debbie said...

I did all my long distance shopping online, had them wrap the packages and ship them. Easy as a computer keypad click away.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

11 December, 2008 08:03  

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