Is it wrong of me to like going to the mall this time of year?
I like to go and sit and watch the quiet desperation of the other frantic shoppers as they cruise the mall.
Last minute shoppers come in many shapes and sizes and the Jane Goodal in me finds a slight thrill in observing them in their natural habitat.
The first breed of procrastinator is the most common. It is named the ambler. The ambler slowly goes from store to store in search of something that will suffice. No gift is very important, merely a formality to which the ambler must conform. It sees something, slowly checks the price, tilts the head roughly 7-9 degrees to the right. A small shrug follows and the entire experience is wrapped up. The ambler goes out to its car, takes forever to get in and pull away. On the way home ambler wonders what the point of the whole thing is anyway. It really doesn't make much sense to the ambler.
The ambler is the bane of the next breed's existence. This breed is so intense it usually dominates the entire season. It is very territorial and can make it's target from half the mall away. The Maelstrom. While the ambler slowly weaves from side to side, the Maelstrom can often be found snaking close to the walls where there is least mall traffic congestion. The Maelstrom can size up a store in a second and make a killer bee-line for the gift in question. The Maelstrom comes to the mall with a list, a map of the mall layout, and battle plans A-E. If plan A is foiled, say by an ambler blocking the path to the goal, the Maelstrom can seamlessly transition to plan B. The Maelstrom will have done research to determine the optimal time and place to achieve each objective. Professions most prone to becoming Maelstroms: Green berets, CPA's, Army Generals, Soccer Moms.
The ambler has a vacant, confused look in their eyes while at the mall. Conversely, the Maelstrom is emotionless and cold. The third type of last minute shopper has a derailed, hopeless and slightly strained look to their countenace. They seem to be lost in oblivion, wandering from store to store. A quiet desperation fills every action of the seeker. The seeker comes with a mental list of their loved ones and no ideas about what to buy to demonstrate its love. It is looking for that perfect gift that, on Christmas morning, will produce the same feeling in someone else that it had the morning it received that bike/puppy/dollhouse, or slot car track. It wants to see tear filled eyes look up from the joyously ripped away paper and suddenly know that the recipient understands its love. It will go to every store, search high and low with no goal in mind. Then, suddenly, it will enter a store and all light save one glowing pillar falling gently on THE gift will appear. Heavenly hosts will be singing hallelujah as this downtrodden soul will be lifted, exalted, and fufilled. While the gift is perhaps twice the price the seeker had budgeted, it doesn't matter to the seeker because nirvana has been met.
I like watching people and categorizing their searching styles.
It gives me a little boost to see their plight and know that I am done with my shopping. Perhaps a little sick...but is it really that wrong?