I try very hard at this time of year to NOT go near a mall or large department store. Since the invention of the internet, I have tried to do as much as I can online, and with my shrinking list and getting away from the present buying bullcrap, this is getting to be less and less.
There is no joy at all for me in shopping at this time of year. The stores and malls are hot, the music gets on my nerves and I get really irritated by the phrase "excuse me" as people shove their way by with their arms laden with packages. Crazed moms with strollers are the most dangerous because they just plow their way through and don't care who they run over. Long lines, hordes of people crowded around the racks, and blasting xmas carols I can do without.
However, when my friend called the other day and wanted to go out to lunch and do some shopping, I agreed, reluctantly. Mainly out of guilt because I have not seen this friend in about four months. There are things I like about this friend, and things about her that irritate the shit out of me. (Like her constantly interrupting me in the middle of me telling her something all the time.) We have been friends for nearly 27 years and she has become like a relative. Most of us tolerate our relatives no matter how annoying they are.
We met at Olive Garden for lunch and that was going well till the bill came. We had the soup/salad combo and she ordered calamari (which cost almost as much as both our soup and salad combos). The only extra thing I ordered was the alfredo dipping sauce for my breadsticks. We chatted and caught up on things that have been going on in our lives since we last got together and all was going pretty well, except our waitress was a big "aloof" but it's not easy being a waitress and she was young. I had never had calamari before and I tasted it but was not impressed so left it to her. I would not have gotten the appetizer since the salad/soup was plenty for me. When the bill came, instead of tallying up her part with her expensive crappy calamari, she split the bill down the middle! Me, not wanting to make a fuss there in a crowded restaurant, just handed her my half of the money that she asked for. THEN, she only wanted to leave only a $2 tip on a $28 bill after we had been taking up the booth for almost 2 hours! I had to slip a couple more bucks onto the table as we left.
Then we get into her car to drive to a nearby mall to do some shopping, while I left my car parked in the restaurant lot...so was hostage for the rest of the afternoon and toward evening. She wanted to go here and there and everywhere. All I wanted was to get my mom a nightgown for xmas and needed to look for a couple other small gifts for my sons and an outfit for myself for a xmas eve party my husband and I are going to. Well, we get in the mall in J.C. Penney's and she says she has to look at draperies. AAARRRGGGHHH! If I don't NEED to get that kind of domestic crap, I don't want to be looking at that stuff. It's torture. So, I told her I would be in the ladies departments upstairs while she did her thing downstairs. I was upstairs for only a little while when I heard my name being called over the loud speaker! "Attention D---B---to the drapery department, D----B----to the drapery department!" Oh my gawd! I can't believe she had me PAGED! I was in the middle of trying on a jacket when I heard it. I threw it back on the rack and headed downstairs and was I PISSED. I had my cell phone, she could have called it and talked to me like a normal person. When I got downstairs, I was about thirty feet away from her when I said "why did you have me paged, MOM?" People turned around to look at her and I hope they thought she was my mother. (She is 8 years older than me.) Turns out, she just wanted my opinion between two kinds of fabric. WTF!
My own mother has never done that to me even when I was a kid!