Day -1: I Am Not Ready

Shopping frightens me

We are close. Very close. We leave for Athens in less than 36 hours and I have done very little preparation. So far I’ve looked at shoes and picked up the backpack (pictured). I spoke to Joe last night and he seems confident. That helped, but the fact remains there’s a lot to do. I went to the place you go when you have a lot of non-specific needs: Target.

I went to the one at the West Hollywood Gateway. For those of you who don’t know, that’s the name of the mall at La Brea and Santa Monica. Yes it has a name. Yes it’s the West Hollywood Gateway. It has a Target, a Starbucks, a nightmarish parking garage, a Best Buy, and a Starbucks IN the Target. That’s real. It’s not perfect but until they finish that boondoggle on Sunset, it’s what we’ve got. There is the City Target on La Cienega but there’s nothing there. It’s basically just coffee and basketball shorts.

By the time I got there it was already 10pm so I parked my scooter next to a different scooter, effectively occupying one of those coveted spots on La Brea. During the day these spots are concrete gold. People sit waiting for them for long minutes, hardening their hearts to the fact that they’re completely blocking one of the southbound lanes on La Brea and complicating an already complicated intersection. At this time of night there were a couple open so I didn’t feel that guilty about taking one.

I walked in and grabbed a cart. That’s when the anxiety set in. In my mind I was there to get shoes, underwear, and foaming hand soap refill – not trip related. For some reason my Ralph’s doesn’t have foaming hand soap refill and it makes me insane. They sell the foaming hand soap dispensers! OHHH they’re FIIIINE taking my money for those, but what happens when it runs out? What happens then, Ralphs?? Am I supposed to just keep buying new ones?? Turn a reusable plastic good into a single use plastic good??? Fuck you, Ralphs. Anyway those items seemed like a perfectly adequate reason to go to Target but as I pushed my cart down the endless aisles, my confidence withered.

Eternity

Three items is an absurd reason to make a special trip. What am I even doing here? Aren’t there some other things I need? I am almost certainly forgetting ten things that I need and could buy here, but what are they. Women’s wear, boys and girls, home, the sections slipped by like single-story roadside motels. Oooh coffee makers. I could use a new one of those. But the good thing about my current one is that it fits under the cabinet. I’ll have to measure that space before I buy a new one. It’s not time. It’s not time. Do I need toys for this trip? No room. Limited backpack space. No toys. There’s so much food here, do people buy food here?

By the time I got to men’s wear I was nearing complete breakdown. This was the big one. This was the fight I’d already retreated from once. I went to Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse on Sunday to try to find some walking/hiking shoes. That place was so terrifying I’m still carrying it with me today. So. Many. Shoes. I stood in the middle and shouted “WHICH SHOES AM I SUPPOSED TO BUY!?” No one responded. Pitiless employees barely looked up from their cash registers and the other patrons left me well alone, likely trapped in their own indecision hell. Fortunately Target offers a pared down selection of men’s shoes. And when I say pared down, I mean it.

The entire Target shoe selection

WHY IS IT ALL IN GREYSCALE?? When I saw this I almost turned around and ran, positive I was going insane. I stopped exactly long enough to take that picture and never looked back. Target is not the place for shoes. I supposed I’m going to have to regroup and take another run at Off Broadway. I’ll keep you posted. I grabbed a pack of boxer briefs and got the hell out of there.

In the cleaning section I found peace. The cleaning section I understand. You only come to the cleaning section to buy things you need. There’s no impulse buying in the cleaning section. Actually that’s not true, I’ve definitely impulse bought a dope sponge or two, but if you impulse buy in the cleaning section, you’re out ten bucks tops. I found my foaming hand soap refill, only one fragrance but that’s cool, I’m cool, eeeeverything’s cool. Thank you Target. If nothing else, this makes the trip worth it. I needed this. I rolled straight to self checkout, each revolution of my cart wheels putting men’s wear further and further behind me.

Big shoutout to those Target carts. Those things are smooth. Lightweight construction and well oiled bearings got me through. Sometimes when you’re in there, and you’re scared, and the products are starting to close in around you, all you’ve got is your cart handle to hold onto. A quality cart can help you. A good cart can find the exit.

I have lots more to do. Clearly. I accomplished basically nothing last night. But the train is in motion. The process has begun. Check back for updates.

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