4 weeks ago
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I had a busy day on Friday.
It wasn't just any Friday. It was Black Friday, a truth that was only to be revealed later on that day, in all its gory majesty. It is a day, I learned the hard way, when otherwise rational and restrained human beings succumb to the most primordial of their acquisitive natures and engorge themselves in a communal orgy of commercial exchange and borderless cupidity.
It began just like any day, although it was a Friday. The week long tedium of Work was coming to a close. I must have suffered a nasty and febrile dream Thursday night, as I woke up with the melody of a KISS song reverberating in my head. As I ground my coffee beans, I caught myself mouthing the lyrics to "2000 Man". I don't like KISS, and never did (but hearing Gene Simmons imitate Geddy Lee's vocal stylings was a happy event for me earlier this year). As a nine year old kid, however, I did buy the "Dynasty" album. I had seen too many kids wearing their older brothers KISS Army t-shirts to school, and I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about. I was very disappointed. But I still played the shit out of that album on the family stereo unit because, as bad as KISS seemed to me, it was still better than my older sisters' Supertramp and Meat Loaf albums.
On Friday morning, as I drank my morning coffee, I performed the usual routines. I checked out my fantasy sports results from the previous night. My hockey team (defending champion hockey team, I might add) was still resting all too comfortably in fifth place. Nor did my football team harvest much on American Thanksgiving Day -- Dez Bryant and Jermichael Finley combined for a heady 6 points. At least my Harbaugh had prevailed in the epic Battle of the Harbaugh brothers.
After cramming a day's worth of work into a morning, I had to get on with other things. My poor mother has been waiting for a laptop computer for a long time. First it was her birthday gift. In 2010. Then it was a Christmas gift. Then a Mother's Day gift. Then it was a birthday gift again. Then, as the days drifted unrelentingly towards the end of another year, it was a Christmas gift yet again.
I had bought everything on Tuesday, when the waters were much calmer. I even snagged myself some sweet headphones, the obscene price of which was salved by a store credit that had been hard won and well deserved from an incident a couple of years ago. But I was picking up the laptop and its accessories on Friday. Little did I know what was, quite literally, in store for me.
I rounded up everything I needed for a weekend in the Glen, including my own laptop and its accessories, and embarked on my way down to the suburban entrepot. "2000 Man" was still playing clumsily inside my head in a rather anti-virtuosic manner, despite my frantic search for a radio diversion. I had to remember to pick up a "chill pad" for the laptop, as I had forgot to add that to the package on Tuesday.
The traffic was heavy, even for an early Friday afternoon in a government town. And everyone seemed to be driving in the same direction as me. Except, unlike me, most of them appeared to be frothing at the mouth in anticipation of some kind of bacchanalian ritual that would whip them into a rabid frenzy of an unhealthy sort.
I was getting worried. "2000 Man" was still in my head, but it wasn't reassuring me. Rather, it was considerably distressing me. I needed a chill pad of my own. I wanted to get down there, pick up the goods, and get the fuck out of town before rush hour. I knew I still had to do a bit more work once I got to the Glen, and then I had to setup the laptop, the printer, and all of the other stuff.
When I finally got into the store, I knew something was very wrong. People, old and young, were everywhere. A sea of wretched humanity. Gnashing their teeth. Clutching and grabbing for every shiny bauble that danced before their deadened eyes. Disturbing moans and groans gathered into a crescendo above the bubblegum pop soundtrack of the store as many of these unfortunate creatures were told that the treasure they coveted was no longer in stock, while others shrieked in paroxysms of delight as they fled towards the cacaphonic symphony of the cash registers. It appeared to me as hellish as a detail from the right panel of The Garden of Earthly Delights.
Fuck the chill pad, I thought to myself. I'll get it another day. I just gotta find that cute little Filipino salesgirl, get my stuff and get out of here alive. Then I dutifully got in line, completed my business, and loaded up the New Idler. Earlier that morning, over my first cup of coffee, I had hatched an elaborate scheme to pick up some other badly needed things during this rare foray into the commercial abyss. But waiting in line had sent me into the rush hour. After aborting the original plan, I sped out of the city in a Bournean/To Live and Die in L.A. flourish and set out for the bucolic sureties of the Country Home, bearing the long awaited laptop and all the accessories.
But then don't you know, I'm a 2000 Man.