Sunday, December 20, 2015

That's Just the Way We Get By

Well, all you winter whiners, I hope you're happy. I'm freezing.

Walking west against the wind to Carytown this morning to do some holiday procurement required significant layering, leather gloves and adherence to the sunny side of the street.

In Mongrel, where they were practically operating on a one-in and one-out basis, I ran into a woman who used to work for me as an editor, a woman I hadn't seen in 15 years. She surprised and delighted me by saying that she's always noticing my byline, but I know that it's only because of her writing background that she does.

Joe Average, I've learned, rarely notices bylines.

Across the street at Chop Suey, I scored a book for a present, then went upstairs to shop at the Bizarre Market where I not only found a gift, but also heard one of the most romantic songs of all time, Talking Heads' "Naive Melody" and was entered into a drawing to win an overnight at Quirk Hotel.

Granted, it's only four blocks from my apartment, so if I win I'll just think of it as a neighborhood sleepover.

Walking home was so much more pleasant with the wind behind me that I detoured to Deep Groove, crowded with people and dogs, to browse the bins for a gift. At the counter, the owner asked me if I'd found what I'd been looking for. No, I hadn't seen what I'd come in for, so I was buying this.

Don't you know he led me over to a back bin, located a used album by the band I'd mentioned and handed it to me after he peeled off the sale price. "I'll throw this one in," he said. "The album cover's in bad shape but the record's in good shape."

Sure, the one I was paying for cost ten times as much as the one he was giving me, but still. I had to ask why the two-fer."That's how we do things around here," he said and smiled.

Holy Cindy Lou Who, how Christmas-spirited can you get?

At home I wrapped some presents using a sheet of wrapping paper that had been included in the DC City Paper I'd picked up when I was in Washington last week. If I'd known, I'd have picked up a couple more.

You could call it gift wrap with an attitude - black background with silver sketches of candy canes, girls with guitars slung over their shoulders, holly leaves, sunglasses, tubes, your typical hipster trappings tied up with ribbons and a gift tag.

And speaking of attitude, I accidentally stumbled across the brouhaha lighting up Facebook about what was going on at Hardywood today with the Kentucky Christmas Morning release, reading how people had stood in line for five hours only for them to run out of the new release because they'd upped the limit from two per person to six.

Those who'd gotten in line early crowed about scoring beer while those who'd felt safe coming later given the higher bottle limit felt screwed. Some people got home to find they'd been given Apple Brandy Gingerbread stout instead of Kentucky Morning and, boy, were they pissed and, because it's the Internet, no one was holding back online.

To be clear, all this anger and judging was about beer. Santa doesn't appreciate name-calling this close to Christmas, kids.

I put off the most odious chore of the day as long as possible, finishing some writing, reading the paper, hemming a skirt on my vintage sewing machine (because it's a rare dress or skirt I buy at the thrift store that doesn't need to be shorter) before I just made myself do it.

Go to the (shudder) mall.

Believe me, I didn't want to, but I had no choice. More than once, I've been that unfortunate soul who has to go to the grocery store the day before a prediction of snow solely because I'm almost completely out of toilet paper or milk, unlike the kooks who are in there stocking up for excitement's sake as if Richmond's going to have a blizzard.

I've been putting off going to Victoria's Secret for new underwear for far too long, so long that now I had no other option but to go shopping on the last Saturday before Christmas. Inside the store, it wasn't pretty. Decorative displays had been replaced by explosions of undergarments on every surface.

Desperate-looking guys begged salesgirls to assist them while women in packs discussed everything from just the right wedding night attire to where the money came from that the younger of two teen-aged sisters was using to buy a thong ("I thought you only had $9? Where did you get enough money for a $12 thong anyway?" big sister demanded to know while Mom rolled her eyes and looked exhausted).

Waiting in line behind six other people, I had no one to blame but myself. Unlike the Hardywood crowd, I'd already accepted whatever unpleasantries resulted from my late arrival. This ain't no beer line.

Productive day. New underwear secured. Everyone has their Christmas priorities.

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