A pleasant afternoon....in Hell
Number One Daughter has a sales meeting tomorrow morning at a restaurant along 71st Street in Tulsa. Yes, 71st Street with every big box store known to man on this or any other planet. Wall-to-wall shopping mania that makes everyone crazy.
Daughter was nervous since she's only driven in Tulsa a few times and she's never been alone. She wanted to drive down there today to know where the restaurant is located so there's little chance she'll get lost. Of course I'd help her by riding along. Little did I realize the allure of that shopping mecca, and I sadly underestimated the feral cunning and deviousness of a young woman I've known all her life. Momma came along too, which only compounded the problem.
Oh, finding the restaurant went OK. We located it quickly and found how to get in and out of there using the red lights - a bit of critical knowledge if traffic is heavy on 71st Street.
She asked if I wanted to go anywhere, thereby setting a careful trap for her unwary father. I wanted to look for a helmet light at Sun & Ski, but they were long out of stock.
Pulling out of the parking lot, she said, "Oh, I have to run in to the mall to get some jewelry for work. It'll only be a minute!"
I had that sinking feeling, knowing I'd been duped. I whined and moaned, basically acting like a petulant three-year-old until Mary smacked me on the butt. I straightened up, shut my pie-hole, and walked into the mall with all the cheery demeanor of a condemned man walking to the gallows. We entered through J.C. Penney, but I could have sworn the sign said "Forsake All Hope Ye Who Enter Here!"
Shopping malls bend the very nature of time. We found the store quickly, then time slowed as mother and daughter picked up, examined, discussed, and discarded every movable object on display. If our early hominid ancestors had behaved like that, we wouldn't be here because they would have been a snack for some saber-toothed whatchamacallit. I waited outside as hours stretched to days, days to weeks, and eventually, after a few ice ages had come and gone while dinosaurs prowled the mall, they emerged from the store empty handed.
...and there really are dinosaurs in the mall, because some of them simply can't be people.
If I could have pulled a jury of my peers, other guys standing around waiting for their significant others, I could have pleaded justifiable homicide. But again, I shut my yap and dutifully went along to the next store. This time I played a rousing game of 'Spot the Plainclothes Security Guards' and speculated on possible get rich quick schemes - one of which involved pushing an ice cart around inside the mall selling cold beer to stranded men. I'm telling you, it would be a real money maker!
Eventually they came out of the store with goods in hand this time. I was fuming as we walked back toward the car. Both mother and daughter wanted to wander off looking at more stuff, but I wasn't having any of it. I get two days off every week and there's no way I want to waste my time slouching about in a mall. But I kept the grumbling to myself.
Then Lyndsay turned to me and said, "Thanks, Dad! You're the best!"
That made it all worthwhile.