Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Sole Survivors

And to think it all started by a less than satisfactory shoe.  Earlier in the weekend, my husband noticed that his hardly worn, rather expensive shoe was beginning to separate, ever so slightly, from its sole just at the tip of his toe.  That small realization is what started a chain of chaotic, somewhat freaky, set of events.
We decided to head to the Mall of America to address the shoe issue directly at the point of sale.  I usually avoid the "Mall of A Million Things I Don't Need," whenever possible.  The place has sort of worn out its welcome with me.  For example, think back to your childhood for a moment.  When your mom took you shoe shopping or underwear shopping or any kind of shopping, was it also a given that you would have the privilege of riding roller coasters, eating cotton candy, and having your face painted? Just checking.
This is why I avoid the "Melee of America," especially with children in tow.  However, we didn't have anything pressing to do, and thought it would be "refreshing" to get out of the house for a while. (See what being snowbound for six months will lead you to do?)
We loaded up the minivan and headed down the freeway.  A short twenty minutes later as we were making our way off the exit ramp, we were quickly knotted up into several lanes of very slow moving vehicles - all of which were also turn signaling in the same direction as the Mall.  We batted around the question, "Hmm... is there something special going on here today?  Seems like an awful lot of commotion..."  No matter, we decided it would be no problem to just hit the shoe store, glance into the Lego Land store and leave shortly thereafter.  Just as we were finally pulling into the elusive parking spot in the ramp, it dawned on me!  Oh, yes!  Today is the day of the casting call for people that would like to be on the show, "The Biggest Loser!" That's it... that's why there are sooooo many people here.  Oh, well that shouldn't be too big of a deal.  And it wasn't.
We scurried into Bloomingdale's and started snaking our way through people traffic to the shoe store.  It was very clear almost immediately that there was more to this story than met the eye.  Each time we boarded an escalator, we had a moment to stare off into the vast sea of screaming kids, determined shoppers, and... some most unusual people.  The red flag began to rear it's warning as soon as I heard my nine year old exclaim, "Mom, I think that guy is... a Squirtle!! And, look, there's Pikachu!!?
Yes. We were also now directly in the epicenter of a frenetic, costume-wearing festival of Pokemon.  This day was also the day of a new video game release for what appeared to be a long-awaited, extremely popular Pokemon game.  Who knew?  This is not a game or cartoon I have ever understood - so as you can imagine, I was even more baffled by these dressed up dragony, space guys running from one store to the next, with flocks of children and their haggard parents trying to keep up with them.
We navigated as best we could to keep our wide-eyed nine year old in check and still get to the... where were we going again?  What was it we needed?  Aah, yes.  Shoes.  Must get shoes fixed.
Finally, the shoe store was in sight and we would be leaving this chaos soon, right?  Well, the shoe issue was settled and we had promised a short look around at the Lego Store, so we veered off in that direction, ducking and dodging long lines, scampering children, and yes, those dreaded Pokemon wannabes in their crazy costumes.
Here's the bottom line.  Two screaming roller coaster rides, one whirl around on the vomit swings, and four overpriced sodas later, we were finally heading for the parking lot.  The story does not end here.  As we were trying to find the path of least resistance to exit this gong show, we notice, many people heading straight for us in beautiful, brilliant, satin outfits.  As luck would have it, this was also the day of the Tibetan New Year Celebration.  This, by far, was the best part of the day.  It was actually a very visually pleasing experience and nicely rounded out our day of chaos.
My advice: buy better shoes.

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