call it a whim

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A welcome break

After nearly 6 months of 80-90* tempratures, Tampa had a low this morning of 44*. Currently, we have not broken the barrier of the 60's, and the HIGH for today is only supposed to top 72*. For me, this is like reaching the part in the Hallelujah Chorus where the audience traditionally stands to honor the beauty of the music surrounding them. I happily donned my long sleeved shirt and light jacket, dressed Grady in 3 layers, and headed out to the park this morning. By the time we were worn out from playing, our ears and cheeks were rosy, and Grady's nose had spouted a leak. It was glorious. For the first time since April, I did not feel the need to return home for a second shower after a morning out. I love today. Here's a pic of Grady yesterday when it was not as cool as today, but still cool enough to get away with shorts and a long sleeved shirt. And a slotted spoon, of course.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Running the gauntlet

I am not a huge fan of the mall. However, over the past few months, I have found myself there countless times. 95% of the time, I am not there to make any sort of purchase, I simply want to let Grady release some of his energy in the soft play areas for kids. It's still hovering around 90* here in FL, with a buttload of humidity. As much as I would love to go the park or another outdoor venue, I simply can't stand the heat.
Thus, I wind up at one of the three malls in our area. Sometimes I head straight for the play area, but other times I walk briskly around several times and try to convince myself that it's an adequate workout. The mall closest to our house, while it is certainly the most convenient, sends chills up and down my spine. It is at that mall that I have to "run the gauntlet". This is the way I have begun referring to a particular stretch in the mall that happens to be very close to the play area. So close, in fact, that it is impossible to get to the play area without first walking through it. Along this stretch are a few middle of the mall kiosks. Now, these kiosks line the entire stretch of mall, but it is the ones by the play area that make me want to run screaming. What could be so terrible? A phone service kiosk, a digital picture center, and a little cart of lotions and sea salts.
Here is a typical run through.

Man at the phone counter: "Excuse me miss, what kind of phone do you have?"
Me: "I don't know" (I try to keep walking)
Man at the phone counter: "Can I see it?"
Me: "No"
Man at the phone counter: (now yelling at me) "Wait! I just want to see your phone"
I continue walking, starting to feel the irritation building in my chest. Then I hear the dreaded click of the digital camera that is snapping Grady's picture as we walk by.
Woman at the picture place: "Awwwwww....he's so cute, let me show you the great picture I just got"
Me:"No, thanks."
Woman at the picture place:"Are you sure? We can put it on a mug."
I just keep walking.
Suddenly, I am grabbed by my right arm.
Man selling lotion: "Here, feel this lotion!"
Me: "Not interested, thank you."
Man selling lotion: "Are those your real nails? Let me show you this product"
I yank my hand away.
Me:"No, thanks"
Man selling lotion: "Can I ask you a question?"
I utter a terse "you just did" and sprint for the play area.

By the time I get there I am flushed and my palms are sweaty. Now, I am sure someone has a need for a cell phone, or crappy digital photo coffe mugs, or even sea salts and lotion, but I gurantee if I ever do need one of those things, I am not going to get it from one of these people. If you have to harass people into buying things from you, maybe you should take the hint that what you're selling ain't that great and give it a rest. There's a reason the mall won't lease you an actual store to sell your product. Do the math.