I need a Thesaurus, or: How I wound up at the Grove on Dec. 26th.

This morning, I decided I needed a thesaurus.

Thesaurus.com had failed me again, showing me synonym after synonym for only two definitions of the word flop: “Miserable Failure” and “Fail Miserably.” I understand there are subtleties within the redundancy but it completely fails me. I need a synonym for fall, as in, “They fall to the floor.”

And, plus, I tend to act like an old-ass man in the sense that I hate reading anything on a screen.  So I just plain wanted one in print.

It’s also nice to depend less on a computer to keep my writing/life afloat.

At this point, I had to make a choice: since I’m new to to the city, do I want to venture out and try a new place or do I want to simply go somewhere familiar and easy?

I chose the former–I was going to get my thesaurus at the Last Bookstore, which is downtown. I had even scrounged up enough ones to park in a five dollar lot.

I drove down James M. Wood, which turns into 9th street and, when I saw the time, I realized that I was going to be stuck in hellacious traffic trying to get out of there in a couple hours at 430.

So I called an audible and went with the latter: the Barnes and Nobles at the Grove.

Whoops. I set out to avoid the whole struggling to find parking and paying to find parking situation, and I accomplished precisely what I had set out to avoid.

See, because it’s December 26th. The Day after Christmas, when everyone else is out, too, doing God knows what at the mall.

When I got there, the fancy LED board that shows space availability per floor simply read “FULL” eight times vertically. It almost seemed like a challenge as I passed by.

The bright side, though–the one glimmering spot of my 20 minute odyssey toward two white lines–is that the Grove’s parking structure has the greatest system for going up or down between levels.

Their entire inter-level system is centralized as a two-laned helix going either upward or downward, with the inside lane for those who want to simply keep going up and outer for going between levels. It’s like a small road.

On the inside lane, you keep climbing up and up and up until…

The eighth level, the very top; where the employees park if that sign atop the gate didn’t say “No Onsite Employee Parking 12/1-1/6;” where you’ve taken girls because the view is incredible.

Every single spot was full from top to bottom in that parking structure, and I wound up having to squeeze into about 3/4ths of one next to a Honda Civic.

I’ve made a mistake, haven’t I.

I headed toward the stairwell to finish my cigarette, and I caught my first glimpse of the mall.

I just had to come here, didn’t I–and I wasn’t even dressed right to be mingling with the upper-middle class and above crowd. Or even the tourists who come in search of them.

From the eighth floor, I took the stairs down because I didn’t want to be cramped into an elevator with 20 other people wishing I hadn’t just smoked before I got in. It’s a courtesy thing and it’s cheap exercise.

“Had enough of you assholes for one year. Gone Ice Fishin’.”

The day after Christmas is kind of a weird time because the reason for the season has already past, and yet all the decorations remain, attenuating our holiday cheer to its New Year’s Eve brink. Though I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the holidays, I enjoyed seeing everything in the new light of being 364 days early and incredibly anxious for next year instead of worrying about buying anybody anything–except a thesaurus, for myself. We must remember our purpose.

Santa has become unstuck in time.
As I was walking toward the Farmer’s Market, as people mulled past me carrying their coffee cups and their phones and their bags and their jackets I couldn’t help but wonder: “When did we become a culture that carried so much stuff everywhere?” I can’t think of any other time in history in which everyone brought so much crap with them everywhere they went. It’s like we live on this portable mountain of material goods.

Buy your groceries here, then try not to look crazy carrying bananas and peaches around Crate and Barrell.

The Farmer’s Market, today, is like the greatest mall foodcourt ever: tons and tons of options from local vendors and good beer everywhere you look. And then there’s also souvenir shops.

The pizza was pretty good, and the beer (Lagunitas IPA) was great as usual.

I wish all malls had something like this, instead of endless franchises of Panda Express and Sbarro’s and McDonald’s…

I never understood why a mall would want their patrons to feel like shit midway through their shopping day.

After that, things got pretty

 

boring. I walked back to the Barnes and Noble, got my thesaurus, and left to get groceries.

I wound up getting the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus. I was hoping they’d have the one published by American Heritage (there is a difference, and I have a preference), but I’m satisfied because now, for flop, I’ve also got synonyms for the definition, “to throw or set down clumsily or casually.”

Here are some more pictures.

The Immature Part of me has captioned this picture, “Stairwell Upskirt.” You’re welcome.

 

Ride the short bus with me.


It was a good day.
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