This is the tenth installment of the Summer 2010 road trip travelogue starring Artificially Sweetened (AS), her daughter, Cupcake, and me, the Nittany Turkey.
Day Nine was a Sunday, our last full day in New Philly. We hadn’t developed a plan for the day, which enabled another sleep-in for the girls. Just how, then, did Day Nine evolve into a shopping day?
Well, before the ladies came downstairs, I was talking with Toejam about my thoughts on lunch. I knew that AS liked hot dogs, and in Pottsville there is a hot dog joint called Coney Island that serves memorable wieners. Toejam told me that they weren’t open on Sundays, so I better go to the mall, where there is a small branch of the downtown store. Therein lay the essence of a plan.
As AS approached cognitive functionality (i.e., after some coffee), I told her that the plan was to take her and Cupcake to the mall to get some hot dogs for lunch.
Sproingo! Say da secret woid and da duck comes down and gives you $100…
Yes, I said the magic word, and it wasn’t abracadabra—it was mall.
“As long as we’re going to the mall, I wanted to buy Cupcake some jeans for school,” said AS, her eyes focusing. I could feel her shopping gears spinning up to operational speed, lubricated by SAE 90 coffee and fueled by a breakfast bar.
Back in my day, we weren’t allowed to wear jeans to school, but that’s beside the point. My desire to feed the girls a couple of hot dogs had just been transmogrified into a full-scale babe clothing shopping mission. Ooooh boy!
We three piled into the Sienna for a voyage into the wonderful world of babeshopping. But first, I had an item on my list of things to do before leaving Schuylkill County. In nearby St. Clair, there was a house with a bomb casing on its front porch’s roof. The word “NUCLEAR” was stenciled on the bomb. I needed to get a picture of it before I left in order to capture the flair of the local gentry.
After the brief photo shoot, I remembered where the mall was, much to the delight of AS and to the quasi-constructive apathy of Cupcake. When we arrived in the mall parking lot, I said I would park at the end by Boscov’s, the one and only anchor department store there. We passed a huge tent. I mentioned that it was too early to be selling Christmas trees and too late for Fourth of July fireworks, so what could it be? We soon found out when we saw the sign that said “Boscov’s Tent Sale — up to 70% off.” What flashed in my brain was “OMG OMG”.
“We have to go in there,” declared AS. I would not have a choice in the matter.
“OK,” I agreed limply. It was going to be a long afternoon.
I guess we looked at everything in the tent at least once. Thinking that I might be able to cut to the chase, I pointed AS to a rack with girls’ jeans selling for $3. In return, I received a word or two of heady shopping advice.
“I never buy pants that I can’t try on, even if they’re only $3,” said AS. I never thought of that. I mean, for $3, I’d take a chance, and if they didn’t fit, I’d sell them on eBay for $5. But I’m just a man. Who cares what I think? Now, it was clear that we would definitely have to go inside after spending the “necessary” time in the tent.
AS and Cupcake split up. I could walk from one to the other and back, feigning interest in what they were doing, to avert the boredom of looking at lots of stuff no one intended to buy. After all, the stuff in the tent was there because it had been languishing too long in the store. Finally, the Cupcake got bored, too. But AS was in full shop-mode, so there was no telling when we would exit the tent. I think the only thing that eventually saved us was that the tent wasn’t air conditioned. It wasn’t extremely hot, but after walking around for 20 minutes or so, it was getting a wee bit uncomfortable.
I’m not sure what it was that AS bought, but I was pleased when she said that she was ready to go to the register to check out. Cool! Now we could get out of here and, um, shop.
Inside the main store, there was air conditioning, so my tolerance level increased. At this point, the jeans assault team began its search and seizure mission. I gestured to the Levis display, thinking that I might be able to channel their efforts, but I received a swift rebuke.
“Why not get the ones that started it all? Good old original Levis,” I suggested.
“Because they’re not cool,” said AS.
We looked at a lot of racks. How many exactly, I forget. It’s all a blur. Finally, Cupcake was ready to try on some jeans. I pointed out the sign that said they could take no more than three garments into the fitting room and they had to tell a clerk before they went in. They ignored the second part. I’m not sure whether they ignored the first part as well, as there several ingresses and egresses.
When Cupcake came out the first time, I asked AS why the jeans’ rear pockets were not properly situated high on Cupcake’s butt cheeks. She admonished me that I didn’t know how it was supposed to work. These were low riders or some such thing. Yeah, but does that mean that the bottom half of the patch pockets should be down her thighs? Furthermore, is it really necessary to show butt crack? I mean without a thong in there and a tramp stamp above to decorate it? But surely, AS wouldn’t approve of something like that. I guess I know nothing about girls’ fashions. Silly me.
I was called upon to be a human clothing rack while the two of them went into the changing room. I got to hold the stuff that they had either already decided upon buying or were saving for subsequent try-on sessions. I whiled away the time by taking pictures of unsuspecting customers and employees.