Buying presents is not chief among my talents. Shopping usually turns out to be a waste of time, as I wander through stores feeling claustrophobic and disoriented, weaving between equally rushed but less panic-stricken shoppers, only to walk out a half-hour later with a spatula. Yes, I tell myself, I know many people who like eggs and a good spatula is such a vital tool. It is the chaos inside those stores during the holiday season that skews my thinking so.
This time of year strains my abilities and patience. Even when I have a good gift idea, I often abandon it when the moment of truth comes, convincing myself there’s just got to be something else out there a little more perfect. I consider myself a rational person, but not when I’m standing in crowded store during any of the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I forget to breathe when I’m inside the beast.
It seems that other shoppers always look like they know what they’re doing a lot more than I do. They look focused; they have an aura of purpose. I, on the other hand, look like a frightened lamb, stumbling around with wary eyes, clutching my wallet and planning my escape route. The stores with employees dressed in Christmas attire particularly rattle me. These strange corporate elves jump out between aisles, cutting off your path and asking, “Can I help you?” I never know how to answer.
I can’t say what I ultimately decided on for gifts this year, because in the likelihood that any of my loved ones are reading this, I won’t ruin the surprise. Not to mention, I’m not done shopping yet. But suffice it to say that once again, in the end, I’ll manage to fulfill my gift quota. My presents usually hover between pretty good and good, rarely achieving “excellent” status, but everyone close to me understands the pains I endure just to qualify for the mediocre range. So you’ll take your spatula, and you’ll like it.
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