I know they’re engineered to be the utmost in capitalist delight, but are malls deliberately structured to be 100% exhausting? There’s something about walking from store to store underneath the glaring eye of fluorescent lighting that drains your tank dry. The oversaturated colour schemes and excessive stimulation certainly have a way of depleting all joy in favour of encouraging compliant spending. Is that why I’m exhausted right now? Or is it simply because I haven’t had enough to drink? I’ve heard it said that if you’re subject to a ton of undue yawning, you may just be dehydrated. Fortunately at the mall today I bought a brand new BPA free bottle. I don’t know what BPA is, but they threw it in gratis, so it must be swell.
My girlfriend and I, we tried to relax today. We really did. We had plans established to sit in bed and watch X-Files all day. It was a plan birthed out of a desire to spend time together while also enabling me to consume more of Kumail Nanjiani’s X-Files Files without spoiling any future episodes. At least four episodes. Another friend floated the idea of going out to brunch. I love brunch and the warring factions of my desires conflicted over an internal pro/con list. It was decided that brunch, while delicious, would be sub-optimal because the act of leaving the house, travelling to, eating/socialising and then returning would take several hours. This would greatly inhibit the amount of X-Files we’d be able to watch. Therefore, no deal.
Our upstairs neighbours were landscaping the garden out back. Technically this wasn’t our problem/responsibility, but a big part of me wanted to help out simply to learn how to do things. I wrested with my conscience and decided that it had to be a soft no. My girlfriend and I were dedicated to the cause. This was gonna be an X-Files day through and through.
I did, however, need to pick up my passport.
Then when my girlfriend asked if I wanted get coffee on the way, it was borderline impossible to say no.
We realised a bunch of other stuff we wanted to buy. A beard trimmer, specific floss, bananas, a wallet. She wanted to check prices on food processors. We now had an itinerary and an adventure on our hands. An hour tops, tons of time for more X-Files she suggested. I quirked my brow.
So we left off in search of coffee and my passport, accidentally Yes, and…ing everything along the way. There was a yard sale that we stopped into (where they had a trouser press and free respirator. How could we pass that up?). We failed to buy anything (but saw a passer-by with a basketball style singlet that said “Butt Stuff” in lieu of a player name) and soldiered on. At least we got a sausage in bread. Then coffee. We made it to the mall and traipsed through the fell aisles of Walmart and assorted stores. The beard trimmers weren’t what we were looking for. The bananas were too green. The wallets weren’t quite right. I realised I left my courier slip to pick up the passport at home. Sadness abounded.
So what did we actually make it home with, aside from exhaustion? A large bag of almonds, a new drink bottle, new underwear and a passport (they understood that knowledge of my address plus a correct ID was enough to justify my pick-up). Plus two fewer episodes of X-Files than intended. Today we lost and capitalism won.
I can admit it.
The truth is out there.