I am preparing for Halloween. I hate spending money on something that is used once or maybe twice, if I can find it the next year, so I try to create a costume from clothing that the kids can use after they go trick or treating. The problem is that to accomplish this, I usually need to find clothing of a specific color and PLAIN--i.e., free of all embellishments, patterns and egotistical phrases. Ay, there's the rub! To try and accomplish this feat, I decided to go to the mall with all four children in tow because, after all, malls have the highest concentration of stores and, theoretically, I should be able to find what I need in ONE store? The end result is usually me needing the remainder of the day in quiet solitude to recover. Returning today from the latest venture in frustration, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem, "How Do I Love Thee?," inspired me to write one of a contradictory theme.
Malls, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.
I hate thee to the height and depth and breadth
of all my senses, which are constantly assaulted
by loud music from the numerous stores and halls
and gaudy displays of women and men
in provocative clothing and/or poses.
I hate thee for the TVs that are strewn about the mall
and congregating in the food court showing music videos
of women wearing a preponderance of tight, glossy leather,
or bikinis, promoting them as everyday, casual clothes.
I hate thee for the multitude of total crap
that you try to convince me and my children to buy,
useless trifles packaged appealingly
and appealing to our egos and vanity,
stirring up in us ingratitude for God's many blessings.
I hate thee with a hatred that re-emerges
every time I step through your doors
trying to find what I need and instead
being offered what you think I should have.
And, if I could choose, I would shop always
in the quiet and solitude of the internet
until God brings me home in a heaven free of malls.
I realize that I may sound a bit puritannical in this poem; however, it is actually quite appropriate since we are studying the Pilgrims now (tee hee). You also need to know that shopping is not enjoyable for me. I am not the stereotypical woman who views shopping as therapy. I hunt for what I need and get frustrated when I can't find it. And the more specific an item, the harder it is to find. Plus, being highly visual and very auditory based person, I have just realized that the mall totally overwhelmes my senses. I feel the same way as I do when all four children try to talk to me at once, or at a party when there are two interesting conversations going on within earshot. Finally, my children usualy devolve into whining, wild things at the mall if I spend too much time there, which continues past our time at the mall.
In an attempt to end this on a positive note, my kids are dressing up as Black Beauty, a princess (but not Princess Buttercup), a cowboy (because he really wants an excuse for me to buy him boots) and a pterydactyl. The horse and pterydactyl will involve the kids learning about paper mache. I am looking forward to the whole process and its imperfect finished product. I just hope that the horse and pterydactly are moderately recognizable.