Monday, February 05, 2007

I HATE Shopping!

This was shortly before not last Christmas, but the Christmas before. The roads were full of winter tourists (this is Miami) and the parking lots were crowded enough that I'd just pull into the first empty slot and hike to the mall or where ever. Otherwise it was drive around and around trying to beat somebody else to a space that would turn out to have a single motorcycle parked smack dab in the middle!

When I was a little kid growing up in New Bedford, Massachusetts during and right after World War II Saturday shopping was a weekly ritual. My mom and I would take the bus downtown and back, although sometimes in nice weather we'd walk the mile or so as long as my mom didn't have too much to carry. A couple of boring hours would be spent in the beauty pahlah (nobody there pronounces their "R's"). It was before the days of television. If I was lucky there'd be another kid there. On rare occasions we'd visit one of the five-and-tens, Woolworth or Kresge, and I'd have a new toy to play with. Mostly it was just tagging along to a couple of departent stores, visiting the milliner (ladies hat shop) perhaps, a shoe store and a dress shop or two. Just thrilling, absolutely thrilling for a pre-shool little boy.

The whole experience is so different now. Malls have replaced downtowns, about every store is part of a national chain, and credit cards rule the world. Everybody has a car. Sometimes I think that buses exist only to keep the bus drivers employed. Back then most people I knew didn't have but one telephone in the entire house, if they were lucky enough to have one at all. Now it seems that every kid in middle school has a cell. They don't talk to one another in groups. They talk to one another via phone. Here I am trying to figure out what to buy for whom, and I can't wait to get out of there!


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