Food Court: GUILTY

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve visited the mall. Matter of fact, I’ve never visited the one right here by our house, despite its proximity.

I’m not a mall person. Not anymore, at least. I was at one time, to be sure. I loved hanging out at the mall, walking around window shopping, spending an evening or a weekend day passing time and spending money as available. And I LOVED Christmas shopping at the mall. One of the things I looked forward to most about the season was the fun of mall shopping for gifts during the holidays.

A lot of things have changed about me since those days, though. My weight is one of them. My age is another. My energy level is a third. But the biggest change I’ve experienced since my last mall excursion is my patience and tolerance for people.

I have none now.

In my youth, I was fit and strong and imposing. Downright threatening, some said. I didn’t mean to be, but the way I carried myself and the way I looked. I think I had a grumpy face and big, muscular arms. I also trained in the martial arts and didn’t really feel threatened by much. Today?

Yeah, not so much anymore.

For one thing, EVERYONE looks bigger than me. And I feel CRUSHED by the masses of humanity. I swear the oxygen in the place is scarce because of the throngs. I couldn’t go three feet with out rubbing shoulders with another human, and that is NOT the kind of person I am. AT. ALL.

So, when we waited in the mall for our car to have its new shoes put on (which took a ridiculously, stupidly long time), I thought it might be nice to get my parched family a drink at the food court.

I knew the place was big. Knew that going in. But when I stepped out of the store and looked into the river of humanity crashing and rushing about ahead of us in the mall, I turned and just stared at my wife. My face said it all, I think.

We started down the corridor, passed and bumped and pushed and tried like hell to keep an eye on the kids. My son seemed to be enjoying himself and watched me out of one eye to keep up. My daughter’s tiny hand was crunched into the sweaty palm of my loving spouse. We paddled downstream and I made a crack about trying to find a place to get a drink, when I noticed this HUGE sign arching over the walkway saying “FARE”. And on each of the letters, which were in pastel colored circles, the edge said “Food Court”.

“Maybe we should look under this area marked ‘Food Court’,” I quipped. Ha! Aren’t I funny. “I mean, it’s probably a good place to start.”

“We can do that,” Fal said, and grinned.

We walked in, under those happy, welcoming letters. And you know what I saw?

I saw this place to our right, with a line about sixty yards long leading away from it. Then I saw more mall. Lots, and lots, and lots. I moved us to our left – it seemed the best of the available directions. We walked and walked and walked. My back screamed in protest. I got jostled and rumpled and ruffled and rattled. I kept swiveling my head to see where my son was. Finally I just grabbed his coat and held onto him. (He’s not old enough to be embarrassed by me yet.)

Fal finally stopped. “You know what?”

“What?” I puffed.

“I think I just want to go back and sit in the auto center waiting area. I need to rest my feet and my back. And I can live a little longer without a drink.”

I turned back toward the oncoming crush of human debris. “You sure?”

But she’d already started back the way we’d come.

There was no Food Court under that Food Court sign. Nowhere. Not anywhere.

I never got that soda pop either.

But hey – the car has new tires.

The next day, I felt as if I’d been beaten. I was tired all day, a  little achy, and sore-ish in my legs. My back b!tched all night about the work. That’s the farthest I’ve walked in a long time, I’m sure. But it still accentuates how much I need to get started exercising.

I also need to get out more so this isn’t so creepy to me. But that’s another topic for a different day.


Copyright 2011 DarcKnyt, All rights reserved

Wednesday: Wanderings

Have you ever started out in one direction or doing one thing and ended up somewhere doing something you never intended? You know, you meant to go to a favorite restaurant or something and ended up someplace else for some reason? Or maybe you started a project with one outcome in mind but something else emerged unexpectedly along the way.

When I built furniture, I did a lot of planning in my head. I wrote down dimension and measurements, to be sure, but the vision of the piece I was building and the construction methods to assemble it often came on the fly. Sometimes it turned out just like I saw it in my head, and other times it didn’t. Sometimes those on-the-fly changes worked in my favor, and sometimes they made a lot of firewood. And I didn’t have a fireplace.

When I write, I’ve found it beneficial not to do this. I have a scene or an exchange in my head. Sometimes it’s an idea for a novel, but more often than not, that grows out of a single vision, a single snippet of thought or vision in my mind which blossoms into more. That’s not enough to write an entire novel around, and sometimes it’s not enough to write a short piece around either, and so I end up spending a lot of time letting the idea percolate. If it blooms into something more, I’ve got something more, but a lot of times, I have a disjointed set of scenes and characters which don’t add up to much of anything.

The urge to write something substantial is banging on my head right now. As I’ve noted before here, nothing stimulates my creativity like having something more important to do than indulge it. When I didn’t have a Slurp to occupy my time, I was as idea-dry as the Sahara is water-dry. And the ideas I’d written down when they came to me didn’t motivate me enough to write. But now, I feel the thumping in my head which wants me to sit down, finish the tiny bits of structural planning I have to do, and write them. At least ONE of them. And yet, I have to write the non-fic. And I’ve been missing motivation there too.

So I have a daunting project and little motivation to do it. But until I get it done I can’t really embark on a big personal (read: non-paying) project either. So I’m in a creative Catch-22 and can’t do anything to budge myself either way. Oh, it’s not a permanent condition by any stretch, but it’s an annoying one. Aggravating. And I can’t figure out where my “want-to” has gone.

How often do you have to tap your self-discipline to force yourself to do something you’ve planned to do but haven’t “gotten around to”? Does procrastination overtake you or do you just slip into inertia? Or maybe you’re a dynamo, with more energy than the Energizer Bunny on meth. If so, what sorts of things do you do to focus that energy and … aw, forget it. If that’s you, we can’t relate to each other.

Sound off, fellow back-sliders! Let me know how you deal with it and what doesn’t work, too.


Seven Things I’ve Learned

Here are seven things I’ve learned since the end of February this year. I already knew them, but I can emphatically state them now, empirically, not just because I’m caustic.

  1. Food doesn’t taste better when you quit smoking. That’s a lie, a crock, a steaming pile. You need to chew something, to do something to satisfy the oral fixation which comes from smoking, so you eat. It doesn’t taste different, but you’ll stuff it in your face and chew it anyway. The taste is EXACTLY THE SAME AS IT ALWAYS WAS.
  2. You can’t smell things any better when you quit smoking than you did before you quit. When I smoked, I had a nose like a bloodhound. I could smell ingredients in food walking into a restaurant. Not just types of food; the individual components of food. My sense of smell is NOT enhanced by quitting. Period.
  3. You can’t breathe easier when you quit smoking. To hear ex-smokers tell it, they quit and within a few weeks could run marathons when they got winded walking to the mailbox before they quit. Another lie. Bullsh!t, I call. It’s another steamer, a big barrel of it. I’m just as easily winded now as before. Maybe more so.
  4. The cravings for cigarettes don’t stop after the third or fourth day. Bullsh!t again. I know a lady who quit 20 years ago. You know what she said? She said she’s wanted a cigarette for 20 years. It NEVER GOES AWAY.
  5. I don’t have more time because I’m not smoking. There are 24 hours in a day; that’s 1440 minutes; 86,400 seconds. There’s a period after that. There is a fixed amount of time in a day. Smoking has nothing to do with how much of it exists. Another Bumpy Brown Fish floating in the soup. That’s a turd, if you don’t know.
  6. You won’t have any more energy when you quit smoking than before you did. Another crock of crap. A huge load, in fact. I actually have LESS energy than before, and that’s quite something. Only slow-moving three-toed sloths have less than I do and that might be reversed now.
  7. You will have more money to spend on useless things. You’ll probably spend it on the extra food you consume. Or new clothes to accommodate the new, HUGE ass you’ve obtained by quitting. Or to buy gum to try and stem the tide of food sloughing into your mouth at every moment. That one IS true. Seeing it pile up? THAT’s a load of crap.

There you have it. A list of seven things I learned since February of this year, when I quit smoking. Why do smokers lie like this, perpetuate this stupidity?

Because if they don’t tell themselves these things, they won’t have ANY motivation to quit. None. Unemployment and need drove me. Nothing else.

Just thought I’d share.


Feast for a slob

Sunday being Father’s Day, I got a little spoilin’ by the familial unit. It was nice. 🙂

I got a wild hair across my butt though. And that meant a sudden trip to the store for something we didn’t expect to have to go get.

Of course, after rushing the kids to get their shoes on, and my wife waddling about the house getting ready, and my lard-laden butt heaving around looking for a way to tie my shoes without inducing a stroke, it takes longer to get ready than most trips would justify. Nevertheless, I was on a mission and determined to have a special meal of my choosing.

The pizza from earlier that day doesn’t count.

When we arrived at the store, found a parking place within reasonable walking distance to the store (don’t you people have family gatherings to attend?!), unloading the children from the car, getting them inside and getting a cart, I found the entire reason I’d gone in the first place was … out.

I wanted that fried chicken from our local Walmart (whose name continues to change over the course of my life – used to be Wal-Mart, now it’s Walmart). They make the best fried chicken I’ve tasted since I lived in Georgia in 1978. Amazingly good.

And sold out. Nothing left. I asked if anymore was under preparation in back and got a sneer and a head shake.  *Sigh* Okay, time to wander the store and find something suitable as a replacement.

That’s right, I don’t leave the store empty-handed. Don’t got what I want? Then what DO you have? Hmmm?

Okay, I ended up with about half a ton of frozen Chinese tidbits. A couple of stir-fry dishes, a bunch of flavors of pot stickers, and some egg rolls.

I have one word to describe them all: YYYYYYYUCK.

Okay, not entirely. The stir-fry dishes were … meh. The pot stickers? Um … meh. But the egg rolls and the won tons were NAS-STAY with a capital NAS, which you can see I have provided.

So, Chinese carry-out would have been a LOT more expensive, but it would also have been a LOT more tasty. *Sigh*

You’d think I’d know by now.


Spa Day

spa So, Sunday evening I had a spa day.

I got a salt rub.  I was sprinkled with salt from head to toe, right over the top of my sweats and T-shirt.  Then, I was rubbed with a sponge.  A very sharp knife smoothed the surface of the salt, then I got hosed down in a whoosh of noise, water and spittle.  (I discreetly wiped it away.)  Afterward, a “sponge” – a plastic, Crayola-green half-circle – was loaded with soap and I got a good scrubbing … again, right over the top of my shirt, through my hair and over my stocking-clad feet.

Next came the hair cut.  That same green block transformed into a pair of shears which buzzed through my hair and over my cheeks and chin.  Then it was stuffed into the breast pocket of my shirt.  Of course it transformed back to the soapy sponge first.   You know – to clean the inside of that pocket.  Next, my heart got a rub-down.  Then my arms.  I rolled over and my back got a similar treatment.  My forearms were shaved and then I got a mud path, with the mineral goo applied liberally from the connectors of that semi-circular green block and slathered over head, chest, legs and finally face.  Very relaxing.

After being rinsed off – the whooshing rush of water sound and more spit – I experienced another dosage of salt, but this time a second coat of pepper crusted me.  The knife again – and it’s that same block, just in case you wondered – spread and smoothed the spice concoction like frosting on a cake.  I sneezed, of course, which was uproariously funny to the spa employee.  When the crust sat for a few minutes, another splashing with the hose left me refreshed and invigorated.

“Do you feel better?” she asked.

“Yes.  Yes, I do.  Very relaxed.  Mmm.  Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, Daddy.  I’m going to go play with my brother now.”

“Okay, Princess.”

She bounced out of the bedroom and I sat for about another twenty minutes, basking in a smile induced by my four year old daughter’s spa treatment.  While grateful for the spa day retreat, I gave silent thanks her favorite cartoon characters put on a backyard spa instead of building a torture chamber.  My night might’ve been very different.

What’d you do this weekend?


All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
ALL rights reserved.