People often say that it’s nuts to go to Mall of America on Black Friday. It’s nuts, it’s crazy, you’ll get trampled, you’ll get elbowed, you’ll wait in line for hours only to find that everything’s already gone. What those people don’t know is that if you get there early enough, if you fight the tryptophan and rise before the sun and wait at the doors until they open, you will have your pick of the spoils. And you will be among the few. Most shoppers arrive at 10, having greedily slept off the previous day’s feast. There are three hours before they come, and that includes twenty minutes reserved for Cinnabon. (from this post)
We did it again.
I woke up at 4 a.m. after two hours of sleep. Only two hours because I had a story idea just as I was drifting off and had to pull myself back from the edge so I could jot down some notes. And then of course I was so far back from the edge that I had to read for an hour to make myself drowsy again. And then I realized that I was thirsty. And then that I forgot to mouthwash. It went thus until 2 a.m.
But the thing about Black Friday is that despite every cell in your body straining back toward bed and sleep, you get up anyway. And you feel okay, at least until the 10 a.m. crash.
It also helped that Dad was in the kitchen pulling on his blaze orange in preparation for a weekend of deer hunting in Wisconsin. Nothing perks you up quite like 5 feet, 10 inches of glowing neon first thing in the morning.
We went to Mall of America, as we always do, and promptly parted ways so that Christmas shopping could be accomplished. Amy, retail bloodhound, dragged me off toward Express and Ann Taylor and Gap. I’m proud to announce that there was minimal whining on my part, save for when she tried to usher me into H&M. Then I bolted for Barnes and Noble and read until my hackles went down. Nothing proves that good old fight or flight is safely lodged within modern humanity quite like Black Friday sales.
After our Cinnabon regrouping, which occurred, thankfully, just as my spirits were faltering, Amy and I got second ear piercings at Claire’s. Just one each; hers in her left lobe, mine in my right lobe. It was sort of a spur-of-the-moment decision, sort of an attempt at sisterly bonding after the 8:30 H&M scare.
We waited until 10:30 to get it done because I was not going to let some sleepy-eyed high schooler near my lobe before then. I figured that by 10:30 the piercing specialist would have at least had a cup of coffee to sharpen her up.
Claire’s is one of those stores that was so cool when we were in middle school. You could buy studs shaped like strawberries or Halloween pumpkins or hearts all in packs of twelve, all punched through the telling purple cardboard. When we got your ears pierced for the first time, we were proud to climb up in the stool against the window, to think that maybe someone would walk by and think, how hip she is. How grownup.
At 23 and 20 years old, such attention is less desired.
The bags Claire’s gave us to hold our bottles of cleaning solution were printed with big letters that read, “I just got my ears pierced.” The cashier at Gap noticed my bag. He gave me one high-five for getting a second piercing, and another high-five for not crying as it was done.
Having ditched the Claire’s bags inside larger ones, we went on with our shopping. To my dismay, the She and Him Christmas album was being piped over the sound system in almost every store we went into.
After MOA, there was Herberger’s, REI, Gander Mountain. I dozed in the car for 2 of the 3 stops.
And then home, where I press my freshly gored right ear against the pillow and fell asleep immediately.
Raging consumerism sure does wear me out.