Ho! Ho! Ho!... Bah, Humbug!

The holidays bring out the crazies. It's difficult to be enthusiastic about shopping for the perfect gift when you are held up in traffic on the roads, in the stores, and in the parking lots. The usu

by Connie H. Deutsch

The holidays must be approaching because the crazies are starting to come out of the woodwork.  Usually, this is presaged by the road traffic leading up to the stores and people standing in line near the cash registers.  This year, you would hardly notice an increase in traffic and the stores don't seem particularly crowded.  So, if the roads aren't jammed with bumper-to-bumper traffic and the stores aren't particularly crowded, why would I be thinking that the holidays are fast approaching and the crazies are coming out of the woodwork?

I went to one store just for routine kinds of shopping and although no one was carrying holiday gifts there was definite evidence of the crazies getting an early start.

Visualize this.  On the north end, the parking lot has one narrow entrance.  The cars on the left have no other way out and the cars to the right have to wait until someone's vehicle makes way for another one to pass.  This one day, the parking lot had its typical number of parked cars.  People usually make short shrift of putting their groceries in their car but this one woman was an incredible sight to behold.

She had a cart that was overflowing with groceries.  They were piled so high you couldn't see in front of you and the space on the bottom was also crammed to the hilt with her purchases.  She pushed her cart up to a medium-sized hatchback car and I wondered how she was going to get all this stuff into the back of her car.  She starts putting a few items into the car, one small piece at a time.  Then she takes out her cell phone and dials a number.  When the person on the other end of the phone answers, she tucks the cell phone between her ear and her neck and continues to transfer small items from the cart into the back of the car.

Meanwhile, cars are piling up.  No one can move in any direction and she keeps talking on the phone and taking small items out of the cart.  Now come the big items.  I lost count of the number of cases of beer she pulled out of the cart.  When the back of the car got too filled up to dump any other items on it, she started taking out some of the things and rearranging them, all without putting a thing on the seats.

I sat in my car for the full thirty minutes watching her talk on the phone, rearranging groceries, and causing a major traffic jam in this little parking lot.  She finally disconnected her call, looked down at the cart, and realized she still had four more cases of beer that hadn't yet found a place in the back of her car.  You guessed it.  She unpacked several things, rearranged them, and when I didn't think she could squeeze a toothpick into it, found still more room for the other four cases of beer.

There was no other way into or out of this parking lot except the one that this woman was blocking.  There would have been no point in honking the horn because there was no place anyone could go.  We were all a captive audience watching this drama play out.  She didn't look the least bit harried or stressed out but I'm sure the other drivers were gnashing their teeth and thinking of missed appointments.  And this was an ordinary day of the week.  I can't wait till next month when the serious crazies come out of the woodwork.

I remember being so excited about shopping for gifts before I was old enough to drive.  After I got my license and had to jostle for parking spaces, I became much less enthusiastic about shopping for the perfect gift.  Now when the holidays approach I'm more apt to say, Ho! Ho! Ho! . . . Bah, Humbug!



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