Friday, December 2, 2011

Black Friday's Missouri Man Snake

BDN Column for 12-1-11

The fog was slowly lifting. The soft glow of our newly installed Christmas tree twinkled through the room. Thanksgiving was in full swing and while I was still trying to regroup from the food coma I had so happily put myself under, someone else in my house was fully awake and beginning to bounce off the walls.

It was clear that everyone's annual afternoon nap was nearing an end and we began to wonder if my male counterpart had consumed a bit too much of this year's "special" frozen fruit drink.

"Walmart's sale starts at 10 p.m." The Man announced with that sense of excitement generally reserved for 5-year-olds on Christmas day. It was only 5 p.m. The dog show was over, the leftovers were secured in the fridge and I had been awakened from my nap. Rude.

"Are you coming? I'm going to get some awesome blue rays," he said, still giddy. Quickly shattering the poor kids hopes and dreams for his first Black Friday experience in a big city, I announced that I was going back to sleep.

"Wake me up when it's time to leave," I said already snuggled up on the couch with our Shih Tzu. With nothing better to do for the next five hours, The Man attempted to nap himself. By my calculations — granted I was nodding in and out of ham induced semi-conscienceness — he lasted maybe 30 minutes before bouncing again.

The next thing I knew, I was being shoved and it was 9:15 p.m.

His excitement truly mounting, The Man made a final glance over our DVD collection before dragging my drowsy butt out the door. I wasn't going to admit my excitement. We'd done the whole Black Friday thing before, but on a much smaller scale and honestly, I was over it. Kohls, Target, Best Buy or even a mall weren't available to us in years past, but this year they were all within just a few short miles.

As we rounded the corner to the nearest Walmart, whatever little bit of excitement I had and all 500 ounces of his flew right out of our sunroof.

"Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas any more," was the only smartalic thing I could come up with. Cars, trucks, SUVs and even an RV filled every parking spot, cart stall and curb. It was apparent that we certainly wouldn't be doing our holiday shopping from the comforts of our old, small-town store again this year.

It would be a battle to the death.

Making a b-line through the front doors, past the jolly greeter and nearly knocking over the tweens with headphones, he drug me straight to the DVD crates. It was as if he had instinctual GPS. Crammed in between aisles of peanut butter and beer were the plastic wrapped displays of $9 movies and The Man was already drooling.

With dejavu of that time I was accidentally knocked away from the safety of Mom's hand at the state fair as I child, I jumped to the belt loop method. But it was no use.

Even though I was no longer a child, there were just too many people and The Man had only one thing on his mind — and it wasn't the safety of his fare lady.

My Man had morphed into some type of snake and after scooping up a shopping basket, he slithered between the traffic jam of carts I'm certain was left by soccer moms as a diversion and made his way through the sea of confused dads to the front of the display. Seeking safety, I parked myself against a frozen food cooler and pretended to send text messages while secretly photographing the moves of the native Missouri Man Snake.

Nearly 30 minutes later, The Man immerged from the depths.

"What happened to your basket," I asked seeing him cradling a large assortment of movies. "It got in the way, so I ditched it. Check out the cool movies I got," he doted. Amateur.

Luckily, he had slithered fast enough to finish his shopping with time to spare before I showed him how the pros do it. And we moved on — to our place as customers number 132 and 133 in the line outside of Kohls.

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