i typically go to Barnes & Noble Booksellers, but happened by the mega 2-level Border’s Books & Music & Café & Dogwash and Small Business Loan Center & Foreign Dignitary Meet-n-Greet. Fuck that place is HUGE! Anyway, i walk down the winding hallway to the restroom seeing multiple red STOP Signs, asking me “Did you get your token?” and informing me to “Pick one up at the Information Desk.” Here i am, assuming they are talking about some Holiday giveaway or some Frequent Flyer Reader crap, until i get to the bathroom door and find a lock entry system. Requiring a TOKEN. Like a vending machine with a turn crank.
Now i have to wander back down the snaky hallway to find the Token Keepers that permit me the coveted entry to the Magical Border’s PissPot. i briskly approach the two men standing behind the café counter, both of them looking more like they could change your oil before they could make a decent latté. “Right,” i begin, “so i need a token to go potty, then.” They both nod and one of them palms me a gold coin, smaller than a dime. “Fabulous,” I breathe and turn on my heels, flipping my scarf theatrically as i depart back down the hall. i mean – what are they trying to prevent? Less wear and tear on the bathroom? A once over to assess whether or not you are a vagrant who wants to freshen up?
After this adventure, i picked up an audio CD copy of Chuck Palahniuk’s latest, Diary: A Novel. i have heard part of this and found it so-far, a masterful re-invention of the horror novel. For those of you who are women, a waitress, and/or an artist/painter, perhaps caught in a dead end job or relationship, you may find some of the initial observations in this one, painfully astute. i ripped it and dropped it into my iPod for bedtime “reading.” This audio book is read by Martha Plimpton. You may remember her from such films as 200 Cigarettes, Pecker, Beautiful Girls, I Shot Andy Warhol, Parenthood, and our ever-beloved, The Goonies.
i was also amused on the way out the door to find a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy hanging out in the travel section. Funny how Douglas Adams continues to be a daily reminder in my life . . . Some people have a great sense of humor, sticking a sci-fi fictional story about a faux-intergalactic travel guide right next to BELIZE.
Going to a store that big and thinking on the heels of travel, i have to admit – i am not particularly looking forward to the Holidays. i wildly applaud Wal-Mart’s slumping sales, and i could give a snot rocket less if K-Mart has acquired Sears in the weirdest merger of two of the worst throwback freak shows passing themselves off as department and low-cost retail stores. i don’t really want to buy presents, nor do I want them bought for me. what i’d really like is a wicked fucking snowstorm to just slow people right the hell down. And to just call all of my friends who i can’t be with on Christmas and New Year’s Eve and tell them i miss them and i care about them and ask them how they are doing and actually listen to a response from them beyond, “fine and you?”
Some of the magic seems to be missing out of the madness in the season. i do like the solstice, though i don’t care for winter sports. i rather like watching it from a warm spot behind the window glass, much like my cats. We all pray for a little red cardinal to light upon a snow drift so i can snap a photo and they can chatter away, wishing they could capture the bird differently.
When it comes to gift-giving, i am more of the random type. Not your birthday or our anniversary or the publicly, religiously sanctioned, Hallmark branded and invented spend-fests that govern the seasons and give us reasons to spin our GoodYear tires out of a snow bank and into whatever storefront our car happens to crash.
i don’t mean to be cynical – i believe giving is a fine idea. i think Santa is as fine a faerie tale as any. i think Jesus was pretty cool . . . “i love his work” as Hedwig (and his Angry inch) would say. i don’t think i am too old to experience the wonder that is Christmas in the way i did as a child – after all, as an adult i am still required the (token) equivalent of a hall pass to use the bathroom. i am just holding out for a good dinner, some good wine, maybe a new music CD, some good conversation, laughs & storytelling, that wicked snowstorm . . . and maybe a sparkly little miracle.