I went to the mall today... now wait right there! Let me make two things perfectly clear:
1) I was not there to shop
2) I fully qualify for sympathy
My library is in the mall. I had no choice. If I waited until after Christmas to return my due items I'd be looking at a good fifty bucks in late fines. I'd dive into a shark tank at feeding time if you dropped a dollar in there, so yes, I was prepared to brave the festive shoppers to conduct my business.
Actually it wasn't so bad. I got a decent parking spot and everything, and ten count 'em ten documentaries were sitting there on the hold shelf with my name on them. Happy Geekmas to me!
So that made me smile. And that smile made me unique amongst the thronging masses. And my favorite thing about Christmas is having an excuse to use the expression thronging masses. And I'm digressing. Interesting that I was one of a very small minority of people in that mall not in the service of holiday celebrations, and yet I was also the only one smiling. Well, there was me and a library assistant who was clearly new to the place. She was wearing the mandatory "Hi there, I'm agreeable!" expression common to everybody working their first day at a new job and shelter dogs trying to get adopted. Unlike her, though, my smile wasn't causing my gum line to cramp up.
Hope she does okay. She really was doing a great job on the smile.
Yeah, Christmas would be great if it wasn't for all the anger. Now normally I do use the considerately inclusive term "Holidays" when talking about seasonal celebrations, but I don't know if the other solstice holidays are as retail intensive as Christmas. Maybe Hanukkah, but I think Hanukkah partiers are done their shopping by now, aren't they? Well anyway if I'm wrong and you're all out there elbowing each other in the eye sockets trying to get the last box of Menorah candles, count yourselves included in this post too.
It's just amazing how quickly people switch from normal citizens into crazed all consuming holiday beasts. One day everybody's just going about business as usual, joking light heartedly about how late they've left their shopping and oh how they hate you if you've managed to buy something already, hahaha you keener you, making them look bad! Then the last weekend before Christmas comes and goes, everybody suddenly remembers how to read a calendar, and people are cutting in front of ambulances in snow storms to make it to the last passenger drop off spot five seconds ahead of the DATS bus.
This is the part where I'm supposed to say something wise or profound about having devised a clever alternative to holiday shopping and/or system for getting holiday shopping done early, hm? Share photographs of the gaily painted magpie eggs I harvested and pickled myself, and will be giving to everybody in nests made out of old scraps of recycled ribbon along with a donation receipt from ducks unlimited in lieu of crass commercial items people might actually want, perhaps. Or maybe graph my analysis of what exact time and day of the post-Christmas sale season is ideal for scoring the best merchandise for next year's gifts at the best prices with a minimum of effort? No. There'll be none of that here. I mean yes, I did think I was clever and had thought I'd beaten the system. The system does not like to be beaten, though, and I have been thoroughly punished.
I decided to have a hundred percent, handmade Etsy Christmas. That turned out to be a terrible idea.
Okay now wait another minute - yes you know I know some of you are Etsy sellers. You know I'm one too! Gabba gabba one of us! Put down the crochet hooks, ok?
It's possible some of you haven't got clue one what I'm talking about, too. Etsy is a non-auction site that is otherwise kind of like Ebay (juuuuuuust leave those hooks on the table where I can see them, Etsians - this is just shorthand for the civilians. Yes we all really know Etsy doesn't actually compare to Ebay at all and nobody's suggesting otherwise, okay?) where sellers open shops to sell their handcrafted wares.
And to throw home made, one of a kind, 100% recycled hissy fit tantrums when you point out that they haven't got a clue what they're doing, too, which unfortunately you sometimes do need to do. There's good reason so many Etsy sellers spend so much of their lives sitting at home all alone doing crafts.
There are sellers with balanced personality profiles that I know and trust, though, yes. Many! That is the point of this post, which I am getting to. I've just also discovered that the unknown substances on that site are cut with some pretty harsh downers. Amusing when it's spring and you're just waiting for a pretty handbag to go with your sandals, but amateurs with unstable personalities are not to be trusted with the time sensitive deliveries of gifts for people you love.
Ultimately after weeks of fighting people who moonlight as vending machines for crazy that dispense as soon as you insert money, almost everything did arrive, and where things didn't these marvelous sellers stepped up to the plate and saved the day:
My Nominations for Santa's Good List
BathingInLuxury who, upon learning how a seller had decided to sell the item I'd already bought and paid for to someone else a week after I'd purchased it, practically strapped a bar of the most divinely fresh scented soap - green grass scent, to help get my gardening neighbours through the long winter! - to a rocket pack equipped pigeon in order to get it here in time for me.
UrbanCheesecraft who, upon listening to my concerns that the item might not arrive in time, did back flips through flaming hoops to make sure that come what may, I would have a gift to give and was 110% committed to making sure I was 120% satisfied with the transaction, and oh yes I am. Seriously, how cool a present is a kit for making your own cheese? Comes highly recommended by other people I know and trust, and it is put together beautifully. I can't wait to give it!
And special mention goes to a very, very special seller indeed, who is as wonderful a person as he is professional, and that's pretty darn very damn. I didn't happen to purchase anything from him this year, but I would never hesitate to for even a split second. He was there standing ready to dash out an overnight delivery of wonderful gifts for me to give to the people I love if I'd come up short, and the guy's undergoing chemotherapy. Selfless much? If you're on Etsy it would be a very, very good idea to heart mindlesspursuits and check out his insanely cute t-shirts when he returns. You couldn't patronize a more conscientious seller.
So yeah, just laughing at the lunatics and loving the heros in my life, and so happy to be completely done with all my Christmas performances now and back to blogging at last! Seriously, no commiseration necessary for the nut jobs, okay? I've learned my lesson about sticking to sellers I trust when time is an issue, and I've been blessed with great sellers as great friends who were there for me when I needed them. That's the happy ending we're taking away from this Christmas story.
Oh yeah, and to address all of the speculation, I produce and perform interactive comedy for corporate and promotional events. For now, anyway. I don't know... you all might just be on to something with that bank robbing idea.