I Am the Walter Payton of Christmas Shopping

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There are only two things that will get me into a mall at this time of year: Life-and-death emergencies or family traditions. That’s it. Anything else is either a brief delusional act brought on by a high fever or a kidnapping. I’ve been shopping online since Amazon started. I see that site as my own personal Godsend. If I can buy it online and have it shipped to my house, by God I will do it. I like to think of it as saving the world from a woman who has a history of turning into Uberbitch when forced to shop.

Yes, I know I’m an anomaly of my gender. I’ve never liked shopping. The whole browsing through racks, wandering aimlessly through malls is torture to me. Seriously, I could think of many more enjoyable ways to spend an afternoon. This is why most female friends never go shopping with me or ask me to go shopping. Let’s just chalk it up to one more thing about me that defies my socially-defined gender role.

Today, however, I had to break down. It is my duty to purchase the Christmas ornaments for the family. I’ve been doing it for many years and the longer I wait, the less likely it is that I will find what everyone wants. Armed with a coffee and a determination to charge through the mall to my one and only destination, I opened the door to the mall and stepped in.

GAHHH! Good God, why are all these people here?

Oh, that’s right. Other people have to shop too. You know the difference between me and everyone else in the mall? I know EXACTLY what I want.

I knew I had to make my way through Macy’s in order to get to the main corridor of the mall. To do this, I had to navigate the shoe department, makeup, and fragrances. Getting through those departments is like walking through Hell itself. There are far too many people just ambling through, with no real destination or idea of where they’re going. Men walk around with these empty eyes as they try to pick out a gift for the women in their lives. Women mosey down the aisles, not caring that they’re holding up traffic behind them.

This is when my inner Walter Payton takes over. I scan my field of play for an opening. I dart and dash. I see openings close and quickly change my direction to get through somewhere else. I spin. I squeeze through openings nobody else sees. If necessary, I throw an elbow or hip. I jump over small children that suddenly appear in my path, deftly missing their clueless little heads as I continue on to my destination. I accelerate to pass a blockage. I slow down just enough when I see an impenetrable wall and look for a new route.

I arrive at my destination in record time. Grabbing a basket, I squat down in front of the ornaments and quickly scan the shelves. I grab the necessary items, weaving my way through the legs of other customers who stand there not knowing whether they should get the Barbie ornament or the Harry Potter ornament. Prizes in basket, I skip to the counter, pay for my purchase, and dash back out into the mall. Five minutes later, I’m back in my car and nobody got hurt. Mission accomplished.

I can spend the remaining days before Christmas happy that I don’t have to go anywhere near a mall. Now, if I could just get up the motivation to get my baking ingredients…

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