I know, I know, sometimes I come across so many Meccas, I could pass them out like cheap party favors. It’s a gift, I suppose. So there I was in Boston (and yes, we’re still back in 2010, so sue me), visiting my friend Jennifer as we started making our plans for the weekend.
Jennifer: So I’d really like to do some shopping, but I also need to head to the Christmas Tree Store.
Jennifer’s Aunt Kate: Oh, good luck with that, I never go there.
J: Tasha, do you have Christmas Tree Stores?
Me: Umm, what’s that? A store that sells Christmas trees? Or is it like one of those pop-up stores that show up around Christmastime each year for a little while?
J: No, nothing like that. You’ll see.
Great, I’m thinking. This should be less than thrilling, as I imagine the typical pedestrian Michael’s Crafts Store-esque kind of place, all dusty and anemic, with schlocky holiday decorations galore, like plastic garland that’s been there since the Eisenhower administration. Whee. Well, I can put up with anything for a little while….
We head up to New Hampshire to the Christmas Tree Store, so that we can live free or die and not pay taxes on stuff. Damn, I love that. We’re in good company as we pull into the parking lot, as there are swarms of people descending on the CTS, as well as the other stores in the strip mall.
Jennifer: Let’s get a cart.
Me: Seriously, a cart? Do you really think we’ll buy that much stuff?
Jennifer: Just in case, let’s get one.
I step into the store…..and it’s like WonkaLand, if WonkaLand were a massively cavernous store packed with every kind of holiday decoration imaginable. My eye catches something in the corner – ooh, look at that shiny wreath!
Jennifer: So Tas….Tasha?
Jennifer realizes that she’s talking to a vapor trail.
Five minutes later
I’m wandering around in a daze, not quite sure where to start. There’s everything here! And it’s all so CHEAP! $1 Christmas dishtowels! Decorative snowmen! Adorable wall hangings! I’m stunned.
Me, talking to myself in a wonder, dazed: This is…it’s like some kind of BizarroWorld.
Me: It’s just….we don’t have these where I come from.
CG, wryly: Ah, you see what you’ve been missing out on?
I think I’ve just met my soulmate at the CTS.
Ten minutes later
Me: Jennifer, where the heck have you been? You have the cart!
I dump an armload of stuff into the cart.
Jennifer: But I thought you…
Me: No time for idle chitchat! There was the cutest reindeer figurine I had my eye on, and that festive cookie platter….. (dashing off)
Five minutes later
I’m standing there with yet another armload of stuff, perusing the figurines and trying to decide if I want the reindeer in a Santa suit, or the snowman similarly attired. Hmm, decisions, decisions. Then who should come walking up to me?
CG: I see you found some stuff, huh?
Me, sheepishly: This place is like the Borg.
CG: It’s a vision of Hell.
Me: Resistance is futile.
CG: Exactly! It’s like a bar – you go in for one drink, and then….
We smile at each other, in perfect understanding and totally harmony with the world. Alas, I'm leaving in 2 days, so we're destined to be nothing more than 2-people-clutching-snowman-figurines passing in the night. Life is never fair....
Five minutes later
Me: Jenn! Jenn! Did you see these adorable gift bags!
(I dump another armload of stuff into the cart.)
Me, adding: Are you done shopping yet? Now that I’ve picked up a trinket or two, I’m done.
Me, magnanimously: But if you want to shop more, you go right ahead! I’ll be patient.
I smile beatifically. I honestly have no idea whatsoever why Jennifer tried to leave without me, no clue at all…..
Next up: Getting aero in all ways possible.....