I originally wrote this post a month ago, and then promptly forgot about it in the rush of getting ready for Christmas. It's a nice little bit, though, and cheerful, so I thought I'd just go ahead and post it late.
Word to the wise, though, now that's it's January, don't vulture my parking spot. I will consider it my personal mission to make you regret it.
I braved the mall yesterday to find a gift for my Dad. I'd originally gone someplace else, but it turns out the store I'd wanted had turned into a WalMart or something, and I had to go to my backup, Macy's. Before heading to the dreaded Mall-at-Christmastime, I treated myself to a walk around World Market, which has lots of little trinket-y things, and an interesting blend of foreign, gourmet and just plain bizarre foodstuffs, and is a nice place to sort of wander-shop for those people you'd like to buy a gift for, but have no idea what to get. Also a good spot for fun stocking-stuffers. So that was nice.
The mall was, well, the mall at Christmastime. People were parked everywhere, some even just gave up at finding spaces and added ones on at the ends of rows till they pretty much blocked the little roads that are supposed to go around the lot. I can't really blame them. You gotta be flexible about parking at Christmastime. I wound up parking in the very last slot in a row, but I didn't care. It was nearly 60 degrees out and sunny. (Really. It was gorgeous. No coat. On December 20th in Ohio. While this doesn't bode well for the polar bears and penguins, I guiltily enjoyed it.)
Other drivers were carefully stalking people leaving the mall, tailing them at 3mph while a long line of other frustrated drivers piled up behind them, making the shopper look like the Grand Marshall of the Parade From Hell. Now, usually I have great loathing for people who "vulture" parking spots, and will even go out of my way to be as slow as humanly possible (easy when you have two toddlers along) when packing up, buckling in, etc. I do this only when there is a spot, or even an entire empty parking lot starting three slots down from my car. I have had a guy vulture my spot to save himself the trouble of walking an extra four spaces. Granted, he could have been someone with difficulty walking, but given the robustness of his gestures towards me and my kids, I kinda doubt it.
At Christmastime, though, the anti-vulture rule goes out the window. There is no other spot, and the person behind me isn't looking to get in closer, they're just trying to park at all and get into the damn mall to buy something their kid decided he needed yesterday. So I have sympathy.
And, in truth, it wasn't that bad. I didn't have my kids along. I found what I wanted. A lady next to me in line at Macy's offered me the use of her 15% off coupon, and it didn't even require that I have a Macy's card. Five bucks off! At Christmas! How sweet is that?