I hate shopping. More specifically I hate crowds. The last time I went shopping near Christmas, I muttered to Emma that the trip would be so much better if everyone else disappeared. She thought that was hysterical. I wasn’t joking.
Jeremy and I got off the bus and I stared at the parking lot in dismay. It looked like the week before Christmas instead of a weekday in August. The whole lot was full. If the bus hadn’t already left, I’d have turned around and climbed back on.
The first thing Jeremy did was drag me into Icing, a jewelry store chain, because he needed earrings. We ended up buying a package with nine sets of purple rhinestone earrings. He was thrilled. He was also thrilled when we took a trip into Purdys so he could have an ice cream bar with two kinds of chocolate dip and rainbow sprinkles. The cashier helpfully informed me that, while they have chocolate with no milk ingredients, all their sugar is filtered through bone char. Damn. Oh well, I can make treats at home.
Then we took a detour into Old Navy to look at their backpacks. It was a very brief detour. Years ago I bought Jeremy a backpack from there; it was plain brown but made out of a silky, shiny material and it came with a matching lunch bag. This year… well it was very gendered. I couldn’t see him wanting a backpack covered in glitter hearts or one with a giant shark face. I promised him we’d go to Electronic Boutique next, which turned out to be a surprise disappointment. I hadn’t realized he didn’t know the EB in EB Games stood for “Electronic Boutique”. He thought we were going to a store with all sorts of computer parts; not a game store.
And then it got interesting. I’d taken a quick peek at the pictures in Icing as I’m a sucker for both glitter and word art. Icing often combines the two…
This is my favourite picture (and yes, I have silver mirror butterflies on my walls). Icing didn’t have any more pictures that I liked this time but Claires is run by the same company and often has similar products so I wandered in. Jeremy was horrified and left immediately, claiming it was too crowded. Whatever. If anything Icing had been more crowded. Two stores down was H&M. I had never been in there before but read it was a good place to shop, especially if you have a gender nonconforming kid. I figured they might have backpacks. I was wrong. And, once again Jeremy was horrified. Loudly and obnoxiously horrified. Then he disappeared while I was looking for a clerk. I found him in the mall a store away, pointedly looking anywhere but H&M. After the scene he’d pulled there and at Claires, I was briefly tempted to turn and walk the other direction.
“What was that all about?” I snapped. “Why the hell did you just turn around and leave?”
“That was a girls clothing store,” he retorted, visibly angry. “People were going to think we were shopping for me.”
It took me a moment to reply because his reply was not what I expected. Had he not noticed the entire mens section? Plus why would he assume people would think we were shopping for ladies wear for him, especially with me right there. My first thought was he was being very oversensitive. But he’s seventeen, that goes with the territory. I simply pointed out that the store was unisex. I was right, he hadn’t noticed the mens section.
We browsed at Dollarama next, which calmed Jeremy right down (he loves that store) then we found a sonic screwdriver keychain in another store (plus a stocking stuffer for Jeremy but he didn’t see me buy it). And then we went home.
We went to the mall to buy a new cellphone for Jeremy and a backpack. We left with earrings, a cellphone case for me, a sonic screwdriver keychain, and a small silver lamp for the living room (with tree cut outs in the shade). Then we got off the bus into a torrential downpour and came home completely soaked. The trip was not what I planned but was pretty typical for us.
His backpack from last year should be fine.