although i love christmas and i love giving presents, i really hate shopping. so naturally, i leave all my christmas shopping to the very last minute when checkout lines wrap twice around the inside of stores and christmas shoppers are at their meanest.
today as i’m walking to starbucks for a much-needed afternoon coffee, i’m thinking about how i’m going to have to face the inevitable shopping soon. i pass the toy store that has their “life-size” barbie dolls disturbingly pressed up like captives on the inside of the display windows. i pass the electronics store that flickers like a video arcade and already has that busiest-shopping-day-of-the-year buzz. and as i’m passing the clothing store that usually has all their merchandise in big, unmanageable piles anyway, i see a four-year-old-ish little man standing just outside the store entrance with his mother.
his mother is sipping on some sort of smoothie and pointing her head towards the door, indicating for him to go in ahead of her. the little man, dressed far more fashionably than me, head to toe in trendy blue jeans and matching denim jacket, starts shaking his head “no.” like a western showdown, he stands facing her with legs apart and feet planted solidly against the ground. the weary mother stands there leaning on one leg, head to one side, facing her child.
“let’s go,” she says firmly, “open the door.” again, he shakes his head “no.” and this time puts a little more of his body into it.
the mother looks like she’d much rather fall into a tidy heap on the cement floor. she gives him another chance to comply, “let’s GO.” but his little head and both his shoulders are pivoting left to right as he twists his waist for an entire upper-body “NO!”
exasperated and obviously not having the time for this, the mother starts moving towards him. like a skiddish cat, he shifts threateningly into getaway position as his entire body is now shaking in a desperate “no! no! NO!” in one quick, expert sweep, she picks denim-boy up, throws him over her shoulder, and swings the door open—letting out a stale gust of clothing store air.
the little man now knows its over. they’re going in. but wait. maybe there’s a chance…if only…yes! he’ll throw an embarrassing tantrum and she’ll have to walk out! so he’s thrashing like a fish in her arms and shrieking “noooooooo, nooOOOOOOOOO.”
but alas, she starts moving towards the sale rack. and as i’m walking away, i can hear his howl fading as though he’s flailing down a bottomless pit: “NOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.”