Thursday, December 23, 2004

A Christmas Quest

Last night, I drove down to Manhattan Beach, home of the magical mystical Target, and searched valiantly for a Strawberry Shortcake doll to give as a Christmas gift to future Mr. Cityelf's niece/goddaughter (who we call The Baby, despite the fact that she is four.) She is currently obsessed with Strawberry Shortcake, much like I was 22 years ago. My Little Pony, Care Bears, and Rainbow Bright are also back this season, along with Cabbage Patch dolls. Next I suppose they'll bring revive Monchichis, Pound Puppies, and Shrinky Dinks.

I was in the store for two hours wandering the toy aisles, praying that I would find a Strawberry Shortcake doll. There was one aisle with a section clearly marked "Strawberry Shortcake" that held a poor assortment of "berry friends" (a handful of boy dolls that smelled like huckleberries and a foreign-looking girl doll that smelled like a mango or something) along with FIFTY MILLION My Little Ponies. Enough with the fucking ponies! Anyhow, I didn't find a Strawberry Shortcake doll at Target, though I did find Strawberry Shortcake DVDs and a giant Strawberry Shortcake-shaped pillow that I thought The Baby would like. I purchased these items, but I left feeling very dejected that I didn't find the doll.

To remedy my failure, I decided to do something I knew I could get right. I went to Home Depot to buy a gift card for future Mr. Cityelf’s brother and sister-in-law. They recently bought a house and now spend every weekend flooring or painting or tiling, so this is the ideal present for them. And I purchased it without thinking once of all the times they’ve asked us, “So when are you guys going to buy a house?” when they know we are poor and will NEVER be able to afford even a garden shed, let alone a house, in Southern California.

I haven’t visited Home Depot in forever and I completely forgot how ginormous it is. It was like walking into a huge cathedral built for the worship of Bob Vila. I spent some time exploring but I felt like Chihuahua surrounded by St. Bernards—I kept expecting to be crushed by an avalanche of lumber or metal ladders, since everything is stacked approximately 75 feet high. I finally just bought the card and left, ready to get some dinner and go home.

But as I was leaving, I looked across the parking lot and saw the Toys R Us right next door. Oh, Strawberry Shortcake, you will be mine, I thought. And it was a Christmas miracle that I found the VERY LAST Strawberry Shortcake doll, even though she was wearing some “casual” outfit instead of her normal pink dress. But as we all know, you go to Christmas with the toys that you have, not the toys that you want, so I bought the doll along with an ultra-whitebread “berry friend” named Angel Cake. I also checked out the book section, thinking maybe I'd buy The Baby a Shel Silverstein book like The Giving Tree but Toys R Us has a sadly sucky book section. However, they have a wide selection of whorish Bratz toys, including some sort of escort-service high-rise condo, complete with hot tub and wet bar, I shit you not.

I finally finished up my shopping and headed home, meeting up with future Mr. Cityelf along the 405 where he tailed me home like a Secret Service agent. He helped me bring in the holiday booty and then we curled up so I could share the story of my shopping exploits. At the risk of making him sound like Comic Book Guy, I feel the need to share our conversation, which fully illustrates the difference one simple chromosome makes in the thought processes of human beings.

Me: “Home Depot is really big.”

FMC (sighing sadly): “I didn’t get to go to Home Depot.”

Me: “I didn’t like it! The merchandise is stacked too high! I thought it would fall on me!”

FMC (logically): “It’s no higher than at Costco. You like Costco.”

Me: “Costco has food stacked high. I’m not afraid of food. Home Depot has giant metal pipes stacked eight stories high. I’d be crushed! Also, what if all the power tools came to life and chased me around?”

FMC: “Hmmm. That is scary.”


FMC (thoughtfully): “You know, if I was Magneto, I would always try to fight people near a Home Depot. I’d always win.”

And now you know why I love him so.

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