Saturday, December 22, 2007

Shopping and Societe

I started (and nearly completed) my Christmas shopping this morning. I set my alarm to get an early start and avoid the crowds that usually form in mid to late morning. This is my least favorite day of the year. I should plan ahead and do my shopping online, as averse as I am to mingling among the masses, but my my procrastination holds higher sway over me than my agoraphobia.

One of my coworkers, Robin, gave me a Costco membership as Christmas gift yesterday, so I started my shopping there. I was able to find three gifts there, but given the volume of merchandise they carry, was hoping to do all my shopping there, minus the gift cards for the nieces and nephews. As tacky as those sound to me, gift cards do make shopping much more easier for the kids. I would otherwise have no idea what to get them. Their mothers say that gift cards are exactly what they want, so who am I to argue?

I admit, I bring a certain amount of tension to the table when I go out on these missions. I want them to be quick strikes. Get in and get out as quickly as possible. I want to minimize my interaction with other shoppers while in the stores. (This doesn't translate to the bar scene, however, where I enjoy striking up conversations with strangers while imbibing.)

Costco wasn't too bad, with the lone exception of this family of five. Mom and Dad with their three little girls who were shouting about every toy or movie they saw. They just had to have it or watch it. I was within five feet of them, when I first became aware of their presence in the DVD section and could feel my blood pressure shoot straight up. I quickly found the movie I was after and moved as far out of their orbit as I could. I didn't know the store very well, so I didn't know where I was going, just far from those little girls. They were now 50 yards away, but they were the only thing in the store I could hear and I still could feel the toothpicks under my fingernails, proverbially speaking. What gets me, is that the parents don't find that cacophony annoying and don't seem to be clued in that it is annoying to others. (Trust me, it was) It must be a frequency issue with me and the sounds of children's voices, but I strive at all costs to avoid it.

Great, now I have painted myself as some grumpy old scrooge. So be it, but I do have a problem with society, or its individual members that behave in a manner that offers no considerations of their neighbors or others inside their sphere of contact. Noise pollution (man made) is the greatest source of irritation and it almost always emanates from sources that provide the extremes for humanly audible frequencies, babies and car stereos. My attitude on this isn't supercilious in tone or intent, rather, it is one of supplication.