Jon de Vos: Shop, shop, shopping at heaven’s door
April 4, 2008
My wife and I have differing thoughts about shopping. My idea is to put it off as long as possible. Her idea throws me into a bizarre, out-of-body experience.
Despite a prodigious fear of heights, I’m floating up into the air. I see myself, following my wife around the mall. I’m loaded with packages like an Arizona pack mule leaving the Trading Post. I observe myself from above as I barge through the crowd like Shackleton through the ice. I also notice with alarm that I’m sobbing noisily. Finally, my wife turns and glares at me with her hands on her hips. She icily suggests I go unload at the car.
My dream ramps up. The packages are all adorned with the names of rich people like Macy and Magnin. Their weight causes the rear springs to settle several inches. I collapse in the front seat and fall asleep. In my dream I begin dreaming that I’m dreaming. You’ve all been there. Suddenly I’m aware of a voice weaving through the fabric of the universe. The voice raises in volume to alarming levels. Abruptly, I realize my wife has been speaking to me for some time. Pinch me. I focus on her lips, fascinated by their intricate ripples. Must pay attention. Concentrate, you fool, concentrate! Her words roll out, heading my direction, “Are you even listening to me?”
I raise my head from its nesting place on the couch before replying, “Huh?”
She said, “Would you like to spend the day tomorrow in Denver watching movies?” I stared back incredulously for several moments before deciding, okay, don’t show fear but it’s not my wife. It’s an alien. Pinch me again. My wife would never utter those words. I rose, uncertain whether I would defend Earth to the death or hide behind the dog, but the creature extended her hands in the universal calm-down pose.
“Can the theatrics,” she said. “I’m serious, drop me off at a mall and you can go watch movies till your eyeballs fall out.” I had my doubts but I slowly nodded anyway, alert for sudden moves. Sure enough, the next day I found myself waving at her dwindling figure on the steps of Flat Iron mall as I headed off in more manly pursuits, known generically as “wasting time.”
We’d arranged to hook up later at Red Robin for a late lunch. The place was quiet, just a few tables, decent music and there she is at the bar. I join her. We ordered lunch and chatted for a few moments as I summoned the courage to pop the question, “Where’s all your packages?” I looked around nervously.
She shook her head pityingly and said, “This was just a products run,” and she moved her coat to show a package no bigger than a bread box. I squinted to see if it was glowing.
“Oh,” I said.
Then I said, “Huh?” These are two of my favorite words, incidentally.
“Wow,” I finally concluded, “How much did that cost?”
She looked at me and smiled brightly.
“Why?” she asked, “Have you become an auditor?”
And we went home, me, in wonderment.
The next morning, I stood in front of the bathroom sink looking down at the slender bottle of Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer with Conditioning Soy Extracts that I was brushing my teeth with. I was relieved to see it was clinically proven to reduce visibly tired skin, and that it rejuvenated skin cells without over-drying them, all things I was delighted to include in my morning ritual.
On the other hand, I was hugely bummed out that it tasted like rancid Crisco and came in a container shaped like the toothpaste next to it.
I was staring at the label when my wife walked in. Her eyes narrowed into slits like a low-down sheriff in a Spaghetti Western, “What’re you doing with my product?”
My teeth felt so calm.
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