Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas shopping for dummies

Lance slowly backed the dirty, white Subaru out of his driveway. "If I do say so myself, I've planned this whole thing perfectly," he surmised. "Christmas is still two full days away." He shifted into drive and swiveled his head forward again.

The filthy remnants of a recent road sanding encrusted the car's windshield. Lance activated the washer fluid switch in an attempt to improve his cloudy road view. "Dammit," he thought. "I was going to refill this stuff last weekend, but I guess I got too busy. And anyway, if I'd tried to make it to the auto parts store after watching both games, it probably would've been closed. Oh, and hello! She could've made the trip herself."

Lance's wife had prepared a list for him which included each person, his or her Christmas gift, where to buy it and its cost. He patted his pocket and felt the crinkling of paper against his chest, then quickly returned both hands to the wheel. The streets were still slick.

"She accuses me of being a procrastinator, but I don't see her doing this." He reached down to the passenger seat and pulled a chunk of peppermint bark from a plastic bag. "I'm definitely doing the lion's share. She can make fudge and cookies and toffee in her sleep. I know she's folding the laundry right now, but she's definitely doing it in front of the TV.

"Oh, that's right, and I have to mail these cards, too. If I pull up to that drive-by mailbox and my arm doesn't reach, I may have to step out of the car and possibly slip on the ice. Am I Mr. Flexible? Guilty, as charged. All she had to do was order, sign, address and stamp these things."

Lance mailed the cards without incident. "I could really use a cup of java. I'll just run into Safeway real quick like and grab me a little somethin' somethin' before beginning my odyssey." He slammed the door of the Subaru and walked gingerly across the parking lot.

"Hmm...let's take another look at this." He traced a gloved finger down the list. "I guess I'll swing by Toys 'R' Us, then on to Home Depot, over to Target, back to Best Buy and sure as Bob's your uncle, I am finished."

He wasn't sure why, but as he trudged into the grocery store, Lance looked sharply to his left. "I can't believe this. I am such a freakin' genius, I even amaze myself." He approached the kiosk. "No one's going to care, and this gives me plenty of time to get home for the Les Schwab Lug Nut Bowl."

Seven minutes later, Lance was through the checkout line and out the door. His gait was too enthusiastic for the icy asphalt . As he slid awkwardly into a James Brown-like splits position and slammed down onto his side, his stack of gift cards flew out of his left hand and slid thirty feet on the pavement, resting under a Ford F-150.

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