I go to Jo-Ann's to get a latch hook. (Hey, don't judge. These rugs don't make themselves, you know.) No, I actually am not making a rug, I am trying to repair the brand-new retro-shag rug in Gomez's room that has suspiciously developed male pattern baldness. [Note to the cockapoo: I'm on to you, sister. This isn't over.]
Anyway, I'm wandering through Jo-Ann's in search of this little hook (which I finally found, by the way, in a humid and untamed corner of the store behind some marked-down Arbor Day decorations underneath a pile of decomposing reindeer moss - whatever) and I start to get this eerie feeling. The further back in the store I go, the more palpable it becomes.
How would I describe it?
A generalized, free-floating despair.
Yes, that's it. An utter and complete absence of hope.
And it's everywhere.
Past the notions, through the scrapping supplies, among the Styrofoam flower cones...despair swirls like ground fog.
But from where is it coming?
I Encounter The Undead.
I catch a glimpse of a figure rounding the corner of the cake-decorating aisle. Not much - just a blur of relaxed-fit jeans.
Then, near the stencils, the mournful rustle of windbreaker.
And finally...in candle and soap-making...the chilling, unmistakable sound of loose change being jangled impatiently in a pants pocket.
ching-ching ching-ching ching-ching
These lost souls lurch through the aisles in their walking sneakers and Members Only jackets. They seek that which has been denied them since they were cast by their mate onto the wasteland that is the fabric and crafts superstore:
A tool to inspect that doesn't have a pink handle.
Who are these unfortunates whose lot is to wander under the fluorescent tubes listening to "Vicki Lawrence's Greatest Hits Performed by the Percy Faith Orchestra" as time grinds to a halt and they are assaulted by a string of questions that would knock a supercomputer to its knees?
"Which of these papers do you think Cheryl would like in her baby book?"
"Will these buttons make me look like a floozy?"
"Should I stencil frogs on the bathroom cabinets...or unicorns?"
Who are these forsaken sufferers with whom the cosmos refuses eye contact...on whom the universe itself has turned its back?
They are... ...
A big thank-you to Pseudonymous High School Teacher for this ultra-swank award:
She lives in Hawaii, folks. Like, all the time. When you're driving to the airport at the end of your vacation, sunburned and bitter that you have to go back to work in a day, PHST is stretched out on the beach reading a smarty-pants hardback and holding a coconut with a long, hot pink straw in it. And STILL you will love her when you visit her blog. She's that cool.
And speaking of Chicago, we are still