Saturday, January 23, 2010

Get Me A Beer, And Then Shut Up

Unlike some women, I don't love malls. Actually, I don't even really like malls. If it weren't for the existence of Auntie Anne's Pretzels, I would probably never be seen in a mall. All those rude sales associates, bitchy teenage girls testing every possible fragrance at Bath & Body Works, The Piercing Pagoda, blind women pushing strollers, and the fact that I can never find one piece of apparel that doesn't suck all add up to me hating malls.

Unfortunately, I needed to go to the Apple Store to drop off my laptop, which meant I had to go to a mall. I figured a Thursday mid-afternoon would be a great, uncrowded time to go, and as an added bonus it would give me something to do while Zach was at his tennis lesson.

After I dropped off my computer and let Zoe test out every iPhone on display ("Where are all the games? What about 'Monkey Pee?'") I still had almost two hours to kill. I considered just grabbing a pretzel and coffee, putting my ass on a bench and letting Zoe run back and forth from Macy's to Caribou, but I didn't want to risk her getting run over by any crazy stroller pushers. So we went to The Gap (is it even possible to go to a mall and not go to The Gap?), and while I was waiting in line, Zoe kept herself occupied by trying on sunglasses and rocking some major dance moves in front of a full length mirror. After that we wandered around aimlessly, laughed at the ugly shirts in Gymboree, and tried on hideous pieces of costume jewelry.

After half-an-hour went by, we were both bored, and she was hungry. Since it wasn't even 5:00 yet, I didn't want to eat anything but was definitely willing to have a beer in silence while Zoe ate. We went to Macaroni Grill and sat at the people-less bar, and that's when I realized that not only do I hate malls, but I hate bars, and the bartenders at the bars, in malls even more.

While Zoe was busy slurping up buttered spaghetti noodles, I tried to look busy by keeping my upper lip constantly submerged in my beer glass and my eyes focused on a TV. The bartender just stood there, asking me how my shopping was ("Fine"), where I lived ("Not by here") and how old my daughter was ("Ask her yourself"). Then he asked if I was going on vacation anywhere ("Not that I know of"), and it was at this point that I wanted to cut my head off. He proceeded to not only tell me about his upcoming vacation, but who he was going with, why he was traveling with this person, how his grandma died, his sister is sick, he just got in touch with an old friend on Facebook, his uncle gave him some money, he likes to drink beer, blah blah blah. The whole time I just sat there saying "Mmm. Mmm hmm. Wow. That's neat. Sorry to hear that. Oh. Okay." I instantly regretted not just grabbing Zoe a pretzel and getting the hell out of the mall to do something more fun, like crashing the car into the ditch.

Eventually, a couple more customers wandered in, and while I wanted to warn them and tell them to make a run for it, I also hoped that maybe then he would quit talking to me. No such luck. He quickly took their orders, poured the stupid olive oil on a plate, and then returned to where I was sitting, and that's when my expression must have changed to "Shut the fuck up."

I guess he got the point because not only did he walk away and start washing glasses, but he kept looking toward me with a "You're a huge bitch" look on his face. I wanted to say: "Listen, asshole! I'm just trying to sit here and enjoy a beer in some peace and quiet while my daughter has an early dinner! I never asked you to keep me company! Just because I don't want to hear about all your crap doesn't make me a bitch!"

One thing he mentioned was that his upcoming vacation was in the Dominican Republic. As Zoe and I were getting ready to leave, it occurred to me that I don't know one person, including my husband, that has managed to go to the Dominican Republic without getting sick, specifically from poultry. I wanted to tell him: "Hey! When you're on vacation, be sure and eat chicken. Lots and lots of chicken. Yum, gotta love that Dominican Republic chicken!" But sure enough, now that we were leaving, he was nowhere to be found.

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