|Don't look up.|
I had decided that now that I was (okay, arguably) an adult, there were certain garments that I needed to have to seem more like one. The specifics aren't necessary, and you won't be getting them; you just need to know that I don't like shopping and I don't like malls. I had to talk myself into this trip.
Actually, I had to bribe myself. "Come on," I said. "It won't be so bad. Look, get the stuff and I'll buy you a coffee."
Ooooo, coffee. Well, okay.
When dealing with Self, I've discovered, It's important to know what bribes to use.
A cacophony of color hit me. A veritable riot of sounds. Exciting words jiggled everywhere. "Sale!" "Sale!" "Sale!" I found myself pulled to things I didn't realize I needed, fingering items I didn't want, nodding at how good the deals were.
As if I had a clue. It's easy to cut something by 50% if it's already twice what it should be, right? Are these prices good? How much does this cost to make? What's the store's overhead?
Do I even need it?
All these sensible questions fled my mind as the mall's indigenous spell infused my brain. I flitted from storefront to storefront. Look at this! What a deal! I could take these home! We'd be so happy together, my things and me!
Oh. My. God.
I shook my head like a large, wet dog and almost bumped into someone. Navigating in a mall is, I realized, not like walking a sidewalk. You're not going somewhere, you're -- browsing. Consuming. Like a goat. A bit of this, a bit of that. Dreams of satisfaction and delight sparkled everywhere, like neon flowers calling me to feast.
But now I'd seen the game for what it was. The spell was -- mostly -- broken. I kept my gaze resolutely on my destination. Or on the floor, when things got bad.
Focus! Ignore those things! Deny them!
When I was done at last, I dashed out the nearest mall door and was free! Lost, but free.
Then I went to find (very good) coffee to pay off my bribe. We had a lovely cup of dark brew, myself and me, to celebrate our daring escape. So brave, so free. So adult.