I recuse myself

The little sister: Hi! How’s it going?
Me: Don’t ever move here. You’ll cry every day and not know where you are or how you got there or how to get back.
The little sister: Oh no! What happened?
Me: I’m lost. I went to Target to return something and thought I’d stop quickly at the mall because I know where it is in relation to our shoebox.
The little sister: Ok.
Me: I should have known better. I ended up in Arlington Cemetery, on a one-way road with no lighting and no idea how I got there.
The little sister: Ah! Then what?
Me: Then I drove backwards out of the cemetery exactly the way I came and stopped when I realized I was on a ramp that, mercifully, put me back on some highway.
The little sister: Oh good! So are you on your way home now?
Me: No. Now I’m in the biggest Macy’s of my life and I have absolutely no idea how I got here.
The little sister: Oh, buddy!
Me: Or how to get out again.
The little sister: Ohhh no.
Me: I was driving in the direction of home and thought I would go a new way and just drive past the mall. Suddenly I was in a parking garage that connects to a condo building and big signs saying NO U-TURN were all around me, and other drivers blocked me from behind, so I went in.
The little sister: And now you’re in a Macy’s?
Me: Yep, now I’m in Macy’s on an escalator longer than the National Mall. Everything looks the same. I have no idea how to get out. It’s like a casino. I’m in retail purgatory!
The little sister: Could you ask someone for help?
Me: No. These people can already tell that I don’t belong here. They’ll tell me to take my winter boots and go back to the Midwest.
The little sister: They might help.
Me: No. Someone will push me down the escalator, I know it.
The little sister: Where are you now?
Me: I’m still on the escalator. I’m going to live here.
The little sister: What are you looking for?
Me: Right now I’m looking for the men’s department. Since I have to pay to be in the parking garage I don’t want to be in, I’m trying to make the most of it. Alas, I’m at the top of the escalator in front of signs that say Executive Offices and Fine China and Crystal.
The little sister: Uh oh. That’s where it’s all quiet because old ladies work up there.
Me: I know! Shh! I’m getting back on the escalator now. If I call you in a half hour, I’m still riding the escalator. Send Nathan in to get me. He’s still at work.
The little sister: At 8 pm?
Me: Yes. This day isn’t going the way anyone planned. My palms are sweating.
The little sister: What signs do you see now?
Me: Buffalo New York, 5 miles. Wait! I see the sign for men’s! I’m going that way.
The little sister: Did you find it?
Me: No, damn it. I’m in cosmetics now. I’m sweating through my coat. My main reassurance in moving to a big city was that at least the signs are in English. Fat lot of good that’s doing me now. I’m recusing myself.
The little sister: I hope you can laugh about this tomorrow. I’m laughing about it right now, in fact.
Me: You won’t be laughing when I send you a Christmas card from my new address inside Macy’s. You’ll never see me again.
The little sister: I’m going to the mall now, too. But I know how to get there and how to get out again. I’m sorry for you.
Me: I’m sorry for me, too. Ahh!!
The little sister: What?!
Me: I touched one shirt and now the whole pile of them are sliding out of their stupid plastic cubbyhole and piling up at my feet. I have no friends and I now I have to live at the mall and pick up the shirts I spilled.
The little sister: It could be worse.
Me: …
The little sister: …
Me: I just wanted to return the money holder Christmas cards to Target.

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6 thoughts on “I recuse myself

  1. You know, when you’re lost in a store you’re supposed to stand still so someone can find you. Standing in a section marked, “Executive Offices and Fine China and Crystal”, however, is a lost cause. How do you think those old ladies got there in the first place?

  2. Did you see Corduroy the bear?? Because your version sounds like a grittier version of his story. (And I’m glad you didn’t post any pictures of your clothes or face with escalator marks on them.)

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