Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Didn't Even Buy A Cup Of Coffee

I used to sort of love the mall. I took my kids there when they were little and bought them ice cream or pizza to sit and eat by the fountain while I chatted with other mamas and I'd buy them little toys and treats for a well-behaved week and it was fun. I went there to buy shoes and soft sweaters that slid off my shoulders and fancy eye shadows and sometimes, once in a grand, great while, maybe a necklace or something.

I used to.

What happened to that woman?

I went to the mall today and although the fellow who was working in the Large and Tall Man section of Dillard's was as sweet and kind and attentive as he could be, I was hyperventilating within seconds. I got something although not what I'd thought I'd be getting and thus, my shopping virginity breached, I ventured into the mall itself and in about fifteen minutes, I realized I just could not do it and I looked down at the fountain where my kids used to throw pennies and thought, "What happened?"

I just can't shop any more.

I think it all started when I moved into this house. It was like my wildest, fondest dreams had been realized. I wanted nothing more than what I had and even what I had was a bit too much. Or maybe it was simply a product of aging. One realizes, after a certain point, that the eye shadow one bought in 1995 is still barely used and thus, there will never be need for more in this lifetime. And even shopping for others- GOD! I just can't do it! These gloves or these? This pair of tights or those? There are so many of everything. I just look at it all and I think of the factories where it was all made and the raw materials that go into it all and the packaging and the many, many people who have had something to do with each and every product and who have TOUCHED each and every product and I just can't get it out of my head that really, we could all be living far more productive lives somehow but maybe I'm wrong.
I don't know.

All I know is that I am not nearly as cheerful as I was when I was baking cookies.

Tomorrow I'll go out and do the "shop local" thing. And whatever I get is what I'll get and that is all I am doing.

I played with my boys and I got Gibson to sleep for a nap. I am good at that. Owen and I played camping out on his parent's bed and we made tents under the sheet and built fires and cooked hot dogs and ate them with relish and ketchup. He was a puppy and I had to pour his juice into a bowl for him to lap and his cheerios onto a plate so he could eat them from the floor. When he's a puppy, he is far more apt to allow me to cuddle him. I do not know why. He brought me a baby reindeer and told me take care of it and I did. It was invisible but I could see it.

And now I'm waiting for Mr. Moon to come home from the office party where they're serving hors'dourves and drinks. He's getting some brown rice here and some crab legs that I bought three days ago and which are not getting one bit younger. There will be a salad. I am craving salad again. There are presents shoved into closets and I've probably already forgotten where most of them are and what most of them are and today Lily told me that she's so glad that I'm getting into Christmas this year, that it made her sad last year when we went away for Christmas and I looked at her like, "Are you kidding me?" but she was serious and she does have the gift gene, that girl. She finds good presents, the right presents and she loves to give them and where she got that is beyond me. From her father's side of the family, I guess.
I have the boys' presents.
It's so easy for babies and children. They love whatever they get. It's all magic and glory for them. If I could, I would give the Baby Jesus a soft piece of cloth to lay on because hay can be prickly. I'd give Mary a big glass of pineapple juice and a steak salad and a prune cake and I'd give Joseph a piece of my mind for making his pregnant childbride ride all the damn way to Bethlehem on the back of a damn donkey.
But I can't.

Well, whatever.

Let's all get some sleep tonight, okay? And know that very, very soon the days will start being longer and Christmas will be yet another day which we have lived through and we shall know that we have done the best we could do and that no, we are never in our lifetime going to use all the make-up we have.

Mary is pondering these things in her heart.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. There are so many things about this post I love. You and Owen, the lost shopping mojo, the way we get to a point where we know we have enough, we have what matters, and the ending if this is pure poetry. Yes we are doing our best. Our very best.


  2. NOT shopping is the healthy alternative. Yelp, we simply have way too many choices for things we really do not need and often don't really want that much. What a dumb way to pass time--shopping, and yet I do it myself. It's just so dang pretentious is all. For me that is. So, back to the kitchen with us?

  3. Dearest Mary-I GROK you. At the mall i start to sweat. My hair is greasy, my clothes are wrong, even with a bra and the stores sell crap. It's the worst kind of consumer culture. I'm ok at the thrift store because at least I'm one step removed from the sweat shops.

    I confess-I bought a velvet dress this year for (gulp) $200. I'm gonna wear it to see The Book of Mormon with my beautiful daughter who's turning 40. We'll be in San Francisco and we'll have a fancy dinner after and I will celebrate her birth (on 12/25 no less).

    So you go ahead and bake massive amounts of cookies. I bet they're better than my neighbors. As long as you make some transgender gingerbread persons, you'll be fine.

    I love you all the way from Seattle.

    Your friend in solidarity,


  4. So weird. I was going to email you a long note about this exact shopping thing. The madness of it all -- the consumer culture -- all of that. It seems so cliche, right? And it's embarrassing to be so thrown by it, right? Well, here you are, making me feel better, Mary, pondering similar things and making them clearer for us.

  5. Angella-Ii was thinking of you when I wrote that ending. We are ALL doing the best we can. Thanks, as always.

    Rubye Jack- We are safe and good in the kitchen. Yes. We mix up love there. Right?

    Beth- If I found a dress that I loved enough, I would totally pay good money for it. I am not kidding you. It's just that I never do. So feel GOOD about that. When you find your heart's desire, there is only richness in buying it. And my tiny people I baked are pretty darned transgendery. Believe me.
    I love you, sister.

    Elizabeth- Oh. I am so glad to know that you know. Here. Hold my hand. We'll get through this.

  6. My god, Mary. You went to the mall? I have a breakdown at Target. Every effing time. If I were to go to the mall, I would implode. I would lie down on the floor and cry.

    Even as a twenty-something, lo those years ago, I couldn't do it. I remember walking out of the mall cineplex with my younger sisters, the fancy mall fountain gurgling and Muzak playing and all those women in heels and makeup (WTF?) and I stopped and shouted "I FUCKING HATE THE MALL" and my sisters were horrified and never went anywhere with me ever again. If I had my say, Christmas would involve only trees and baking cookies and having dinner with family and maybe singing. And if there were presents, I wouldn't have to buy any or get any and we would all just be sensible.
    And have a drink or twenty.

  7. I totally get this post and have to tell you that I haven't been to a mall in years. I simply don't like shopping and there is way too much "stuff". Too many things of which neither of us needs or wants.

  8. "It was invisible but I could see it." favorite line of this entire beautiful post.

    Malls give me hives. I don't think I have been to one in at least ten years. Local shopping, yeah, but there's still too much of everything.

    As for a dress, the last one I bought was for Lis's (is that how you do that?) Blue Moon CD release party on New Year's Eve two years ago (or was it three?), when you and Mr. Moon were here. I found a vintage black velvet dress from the 1940's in a consignment store for $35. I still love it!

  9. This post is talking to my heart. I gave up shopping a decade ago. And probably ruined my children who are now paired with mates who have Christmas traditions where shopping is central. They have not been trained, my daughters. I do not give things, as a rule. I have so many of them. Feel as though I have it all. A cornucopia of things. A cornucopia of love. I'd so much rather comb the sand for beach glass than set foot in a mall.
    Bake more cookies, I say, Mrs. Moon.
    Is baking the hippie girl version of shopping?

  10. I can identify! When I was young I used to like shopping, too. I don't know what happens as we age -- except, as you pointed out, it all begins to seem so wasteful. I guess there's a reason why advertisers all target young-adult consumers!

    Buying local sounds great.

    I love the pineapple juice and prune cake for Mary. You are such an awesome writer.

  11. I try to minimize mall time by shopping early in the morning, the minute things open up. Shopping early in the season for Christmas works too, there isn't the (over)selection, just useful things. Also, I try to order online as much as I can. I shop more on the Internet than the mall. Costco is different though, it's a grabfest then it's standing in line for an hour. I've had more than one meltdown shopping, so I have strategies now. Also, I'm an in-and-outer. If I don't see what I want, I get the hell out.

    If I lived closer, I'd totally do your shopping.

  12. Well, be glad you didn't get a cup of coffee. I stopped at a coffee shop on my way to shopping (old, yet cheap antiques in the French Quarter) and had coffee and muffin, and with tip that was over $7! Yikes!

    I long hated shopping and malls, but something about living in countries where there was no place to shop (except from wheelbarrows) somehow tamped that down. Oh, there's no way in hell you could drag me to a mall now, but I've actually been a couple of times to buy clothes (somehow I only had three blouses appropriate for work) in the past few months and it was not horrible at all. Kind of enjoyable. (Of course, our mall has cafe au lait and beignets, so I may bribe myself.)

  13. Yes. Yikes on the mall. Too overstimulating. It could be our age, but I also think it represents a lot of what I believe to be wrong in our culture. Fakeness, entitlement, corporate greed and slick advertising, form over substance... and all those florescent lights! ick! The mall here freaked me out so bad I had a panic attack. Something about all the flat screen tvs in the food court playing pop crap videos. Very sexually dark and there were children there! MINE for one! JESUS!

    Yea, cookies. That's the way to go. :-)
    Love you,
    xo m

  14. Feel you on the mall.Heck I almost had a melt down in Tarjay.I am so glad that I am not the only one that feels this/that way.ok so more fat bombs now there is some joy. Peace from Alabama.. :)

  15. I love, love, love shopping--but not malls. I can tolerate TJ Maxx because it's not attached to any other store in our area. When I had to buy a wedding dress for next week (I am the mother of the groom), I found it within 15 minutes, ordered it, and ran, (I do love the Lancome counter because they ooh and aah over my jewelry--but why does it have to be in the mall?)

    When Harv was alive, I loved Christmas. Now? A little hot chocolate and I'm ready for New Year's.

    XOXO for your beautiful writing.


  16. You are right about the makeup. Besides, this society makes you feel old at 35. I already feel like what's the damn point? I'm 46--I'm old. What's the point in trying to beautify my old hag face? In America, as a woman, you are worth nothing after your youthful appearance goes. Nobody even gives me a second glance anymore, so what's the point in putting makeup on?

    On that cheery note, I say Halle-fucking-llujah to the lengthening of days.


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