Margarita Christmas Shopping


The mall is hot. It’s as though I have walked into a sauna with a sweater and jacket on over my towel. The sweat is dripping off my nose. Burke is carrying our dog in a bag. We are those people. I am getting some odd looks, but you don’t get to 49 and have an obnoxious laugh without getting used to looks.

We go to a shoe store. Burke carries around the dog to keep her quiet. I try on shoes and practice my Czech to talk about sizes and vocabulary to explain discomfort and to apologize for making someone bring you shoes and then not buying any. As we leave, the woman gives me a different look. This one hurts. We don’t get very many happy looks at the electronics store, the boutique outdoor shop, H&M, the chocolate store, and the coffee store. When we leave those shops, we incur unhappy and unsurprised glances. Even the pet shop was weird – a place where you’d think you could go with a Shih-tzu in a backpack and be accepted. Alas, no.     

The pen store brings us a mild victory. The woman eyes us up with uncertainty. When we buy a few things, she seems genuinely taken aback. As if the fact that we may use the pen for writing words is beyond her understanding.

After the pen store Burke reminds me that there is a ‘drinking place’ near the mall. By ‘drinking place’ she means ‘a pub’ and I not only remembered this drinking place, I was plotting an escape to it. Once at the drinking place we relax and mostly stop sweating. The dog chills in the backpack (which also doubles as a dog condo). The world makes sense again. The waitress eyes me up with caution, but she seems fine when we don’t start smashing glasses or singing at high volumes. After I relax, I have an idea for a gift. I jot it down (in words. with a pen). Then I have another idea. Inspiration stuck.  

When I was living in Pittsburgh, my friend Jimmie introduced me to Margarita Christmas Shopping. The concept is simple and, if you were paying attention, pretty much says it all. You drink margaritas and then you go Christmas shopping. The idea is, you loosen up and then go shopping. This makes it easier for you to spend money on stupid things and after little consideration. I took to it rather well.

I go back to the mall, which was near the drinking place. I burst back into the pen shop. The woman gives a startled look – but surely you won’t buy another pen. But I did. An orange one. And I asked for a box and a bag. Then I went to the coffee store. Did I buy flavored syrups for coffee? You bet. And I also bought measuring cups that I did not need. I was one shot away from buying a reusable baking sheet, but that one I – even in my state – couldn’t rationalize. But don’t count me out. There are six shopping days left and that drinking place is right next door.  

The gist here – do your Christmas shopping when you’re fra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-fucked up.

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