Do you love the mall? Are you entranced by the pink glitteriness of LibbyLu? Are you lured by the dark emo moodiness of Hot Topic?
Or do you find yourself oddly nauseous after about a half an hour of that weirdly strong buttered pretzel smell that somehow manages to float its way from Macy’s at one end to Sears on the other?
Like me, do you find yourself gazing in the windows of Wet Seal and Express, wondering when you were thrown into that time machine and got sent to the seventies?
I was in Borders Books, one of the few stores in the Galleria Mall where I live that I can actually tolerate, a dangerous store, since I am prone to spend virtually all of whatever is in my pocket.
The reason I was there? I am raising two voracious readers, both of them girls who just LOVE the mall, and one of them, while waking me up for school – okay, yes, SHE woke ME up for school, what’s it TO you – stepped on and crushed my eyeglasses.
Having no vision insurance, I needed to go to the Get ’Em Quick & Cheap Eyeglasses R Us Store, which is not all that bad, and they know me there, besides. Don’t you LOVE places That Know You There? Don’t you LOVE Special Treatment?
Not that I am in the least bit deserving of any sort of Special Treatment, but like my dog, I galumph through the world, expecting everyone to like me. (And if they’re cute, they can pet me.) I talk to absolute strangers as if I’ve known them my whole life – sometimes as if we’re already having a conversation, for example, today:
Me, to strange (as in unknown – for all I know, she could be very nice) older woman, admiring my dog, who is with me at said Galleria: He’s great, isn’t he? And he’s quiet, too – except for the other night.
(I should add that we were headed opposite ways in the mall, as well, so my speaking up has forced the poor woman to stop.)
Her: Well, you know, someone could have been poking around your house, then.
Me: That’s EXACTLY what I thought. My kids were complaining they got woken up, but when a quiet dog barks, I say: let him bark, and lock the doors, don’t you?
Her (with a you-said-it-sister grin): I couldn’t agree more.
That was all. Nice little exchange.
Either way: we end up at Borders Books, Charybdis whirlpool of money-sucking peril – so I sent the kids to the kids section with the usual admonition: ONE BOOK EACH, which they know is total B.S., since the quieter and more invisible they are for as long as possible, the more likely it is mama will gather more and more books of her own – and mama can’t very well buy five books for herself and limit them to one, now can she?
Outsmarted them this time.
I got sidetracked when I saw a book by this title: Pretty Little Pincushions. Who, I wondered, buys this book? Who, I wondered, needs more than one – maybe two – pincushions.
Now: I sew – a lot, and I sew well. My pincushions are neither little nor pretty. Purely functional, and if I were to put in the time on a sewing project, it surely would not be wasted on a pincushion.
Then I saw this one: Pretty Little Potholders. Yikes. I just bought new potholders, after the last ones I had finally went rancid, at one of the stores I actually like – the Dollar Store. Those, at least, are guaranteed – relatively – to keep my hands from burning.
What an awful lot of effort on frivolity. Plus the expense of the book.
Then I decided to grab my moleskine, tie the dog’s leash to my waist, and collect some more titles that I thought – purposely without opening the book – seemed absolutely silly to me.
In the romance section: You’ve Got Male, by Elizabeth Bevarly. This was annoying not only for the title, but also by the stupid way she spells her last name on what I hope is a pseudonym.
Texas Loving, by Leigh Greenwood. Also in romance. In fact, I personally wouldn’t read anything in romance, but then again, I get to have Peter.
The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About the World’s Greatest Human, by Ian Spector. Even if it is a humor book, that’s not funny.
Then there was one that sort of seemed funny – just the title – but not worth buying. The Mystery of Sausage: And Other Ridiculous Blueprints. Paul Osborne, a magician, wrote this, whose other claim to fame is that his ancestors invented the Ferris Wheel. Okay.
One book I wished I’d had the money for was The Encyclopedia Idiotica. That one grabbed my attention. If any reader wants to send me that one, I’ll be very grateful.
Later, at dinner, I pointed out how ridiculous the pincushion book seemed to me.
My oldest brought up what I thought was an excellent point.
“It might not be ridiculous to everybody.” she said. “Old ladies might love it. Maybe they collect them. Maybe they even trade them. You know, like old lady baseball cards.”
So – every book has some use.
In the bookstore itself, I saw a man perusing the Sausage book. “What about that book made you interested in it?” I asked.
He smiled, sheepishly. “I’m just interested in a lot of weird stuff,” he said. “I have a lot of weird books.”
I pointed out another to him. “Did you see The Physics of Superheroes?”
He reached for it excitedly.