Knives, Mascara, & Other Dangerous Things

I hate shopping. I hate shopping for other people and even worse, I hate shopping for myself. Working from home cuts down dramatically on my required trips to to the mall (how many pairs of work pajamas does a girl really need?), but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

Like now. I’m attending the NCTE Conference in Philadelphia this weekend, and I need, among other things, a dress and shoes for a dinner event. No big deal, right? It’s just a dress and shoes. I figured I could probably get them both in one store, along with all of the extras required for wearing a dress and looking respectable in public. But in typical Sarah fashion, despite having planned this trip months ago, I waited until just a few days before my flight to freak out about it. Seriously. I even considered buying a dress in the airport on the way there.

Relax, I’m a professional procrastinator. Unfortunately, as a pro procrastinator, I create my own punishment. In this case, my punishment took the form of…

*insert ominous music*

…going to the mall.

Tuesday, Pet Monster and I got up early (that should’ve been the first clue that something was amiss) to plan a trip to our local mega mall. He needed headphones (so he could tune me out when I go off on one of my frequent, self-induced writerly breakdowns) and I needed that dress, so we put on our bravest faces and headed out. Headphones. Dress. Shoes. Check. How hard could it be?

*insert ominous music*

Wait. Did I say ominous music? Because I really meant Christmas music. Set off with big giant red velvet bows and twinkling lights dripping from the highest rafters, reflected in the gleaming polished floors, shining in the eyes of all the dedicated retailers who plaster on those eager sell-it-to-me smiles. One guy even tried to buff my nails, right in front of Pet Monster! It’s the Christmas season, after all! Time to show your loved ones just how much you care by putting yourself in debt! Boy, if the Three Wise Men had credit cards, baby Jesus might’ve scored an X-Box 360 and an iTunes gift card instead of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Back to the dress-finding mission. After only one side trip to play with the Santa-hatted dinosaurs at the toy store, Pet Monster and I managed to load ourselves up with bags. But between the music, the decorations, the unnatural shine on everything in sight, the eerie emptiness of a recession-era mall, and the apparent “cologne machine” blowing a constant plume of man-scent from the Abercrombie & Fitch store, we were pretty overwhelmed. We ducked into the welcome darkness of The Cheesecake Factory for an early lunch, then ducked even further into the darkness to catch 2012 in the theater, where we watched stuff blow up and tried not to think about the parallels between the end of the world and shopping at the mall.

Later, from the quiet safety of home, I deprogrammed my brain of the subliminal Christmas messages and examined our purchases. I got a keyboard and laptop riser to make my Mac more ergonomic, mascara, an eyebrow pencil, lip gloss (but that was a birthday gift from Sephora), a new tea kettle (the old one rusted), several large kitchen knives, some silicone utensils, Alex’s headphones, and a computer mouse for his system. I also had some leftover white chocolate macadamia nut cheesecake. Score!

But… should I be concerned that my new mascara came with an instruction manual longer than the manuals that came with any of the electronics stuff? Is it a good idea to put something near your eyes that requires 2 pages of descriptions and diagrams, half of which are in French? Probably not. But I’m getting my money’s worth. Even if my blog posts start coming out blurry or en français, at least I’ll have great lashes!


I also have great kitchen knives that will hopefully not slice my finger like the old one did the other day, just as I was cutting a bagel and saying to myself that holding it that way was a sure recipe for disaster. I never listen to myself.

Mascara. Knives. Tea kettle. Cheesecake. But, um, dress? Shoes? Related accessories? Fail, fail, fail!

What did I say? Procrastination breeds punishment. The original dress-finding mission is still a priority (albeit a severely sidetracked one), so now I have to brave the retail sphere again tomorrow. Fortunately for all involved, it’s opening day for New Moon, so when trying on clothes starts to weaken my spirit, I’ll just duck back into the theater and get on Edward–er, I mean, get my Edward on.


Hey. If you see me at NCTE this weekend, and I’m wearing an actual dress rather than something fashioned out of a keyboard and a few shopping bags from Sephora and the Apple store, make sure you tell me how much you love it and how that new mascara makes my eyes just “pop!” Yes, use the word “pop,” just like they did at Sephora to get me to buy it. Pop is key. Then, this retail insanity will not have been in vain.

Until then, au revoir, mes amis!

1 thought on “Knives, Mascara, & Other Dangerous Things

  1. Well, at least you remembered what I told you about handling a knife(more than a couple dozen times, I’m sure), even if you aren’t practicing what I preached!!

    Enjoyed the Mall Misery theme, though, and I feel the same way.


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