I have what I refer to as mallergy. I am allergic to malls, large departments stores and the crowds and traffic that come with them. I do about 90% of my holiday shopping online, but sometimes you have to get in your car and go out. If I just want to go food shopping, I have to deal with the fact that my grocery store is in the same lot as Wal-Mart. Ever been in a Wal-Mart parking lot at Christmas time? Imagine a place where everything that is bad in the world converges in one giant sea of evil, and it’s all vying for that one last parking space. It’s like Death Race 2000 meets some level of hell Dante never imagined. Horns blaring and people cursing as some man who is so old he’s damn near zombified takes twelve minutes to pull into a parking spot that could fit a truck, while a crazed soccer mom in her ginormous Expedition hell-bent on getting the sale price on the Bratz “How To Make Your 12 Year Old Daughter Look Like a Two Dollar Whore” doll for her special snowflake barrels through the lot as if she were the only person on the planet and all these fat, lazy fuckers are idling in the middle of the damn lanes, stalking shoppers whose cars are parked within 20 feet of the store, even though there are 50 empty spaces at the end of the lot available but no one wants those spaces because, my god, the extra little walk may make you miss the blue light special on the cheese and cracker spectacular you’re buying for your dad for the eighth year in a row, even though he’s on cholesterol medicine. Why don’t you wrap up a carton of Lucky Strikes and a 40 of malt liquor while you’re at it?
This is the time of year when I use the cutesy term “brick-and-mortar,” normally used to describe actual (as distinguished from virtual) storefronts, to acknowledge a vague, inchoate desire to point artillery at the structure. Should I have to go to one on the 24th, it will be decidedly less vague.