Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hobby Lobby

Just got back from a trip to Hobby Lobby.
Yeah, I went in, too.
I thought the plan was I would drop Devan at the entrance and go park and eat my Arby's and read my library book.
To be polite, I asked if she wanted me to go in.
I thought she understood the purely symbolic intent behind the gesture.
She nodded. Affirmatively.
"Someone might look at me."
She has the mistaken idea that I'm the jealous type.
"Could you wear a bag?" I suggested.
"Someone might cut in front of me in the checkout line."
I considered this unlikely. The patrons of Hobby Lobby tend to be fairly passive.
That is, the only people actually shopping in the store are women. There are a few men, but they usually have a sedated air about them. Okay, drugged. And they push the carts.
The point is, estrogen doesn't usually spawn aggression, with a few very notable exceptions, and I doubted the likelihood of a Christmas X-Box style rush over pastel glue and assorted glitter.
Although I do know of a few women that tend to be a little fanatical about crafts and such. I have a cousin and a sister that share a disturbing obsession for knitting.
But I didn't say this.
What I did say was, "If my brain is numb when we come out, will you drive home?"
"It won't be. You can drive home."
I was feeling sedated already.
If you've never been in a Hobby Lobby, it's a surreal experience.
I can relate it to a childhood shopping trip to an industrial kitchen supply store for proper tamale paper.
The sheer volume of stuff I don't care about is something that stuck with me all these years.
There are entire aisles of scrapbook paper.
There is a wall of fake greenery sixteen feet high.
There is a display area roughly the size of my acreage (including the house) that exhibits fabric.
It was about the time when I was helping Devan look for oregano paper, (I think the reason I didn't spot it first was because I was assuming it would be green. Apparently they dye it different colors.) that I became aware of the intercom music.
Hobby Lobby is obviously owned by a Christian. There is no Halloween merchandise and they sell Testamints at the checkout. Eating Scripture makes your breath smell sweeter.
I like Christian music. And, even though I'm not sure how spiritual a shopping experience can be, I don't even have a problem with a retail outlet playing it over the intercom.
But, standing looking at the various sizes and colors of pom poms, I gradually became aware that taste is not a universal Christian virtue.
I know this because I was listening to a Muzak version of "I Will Be Here."
I suppose it would depend on Steven Curtis Chapman's level of security and confidence as an artist whether knowing that you had finally been given a generic brand would offend your artistic sensibilities or just make you feel really smug.
I was definitely feeling offended and unable to shake the sensation of being in a giant religious elevator. Had I been reading a copy of Guidepost and drinking Ezekiel 4:29 coffee from a Purpose-Driven-Life coffee mug the experience could not have been more unsettling.
I excused myself and went over to the children's hobby and science project section in hopes they sold tin foil hats to protect my brain from any dangerous rays.
Not having any such luck, I rejoined Devan who, in all fairness, was in fact shopping for materials to make Japanese gift boxes to fill with treats as Christmas gifts for nursing home inmates.
Thinking on that, I decided to suck it up and be a brave little cart pusher.
After all, if I were in there much longer, I, too might be grateful for a cookie-filled Japanese gift box as I sat drooling in a wheelchair.
"I wonder," murmured Devan, as she browsed through the fake poinsettias, of which there were an alarming variety, "if they have little tiny poinsettias that I could glue on top."
I answered that if they didn't, I surely could not imagine that they could be found anywhere else.
She either missed the sarcasm, or chose to ignore it.
I suspect the latter. There is something about being surrounded by several acres of crafts that makes a woman extremely placid. It makes a man placid, too. It is a combination of Stockholm syndrome and the estrogen they circulate through the heating and cooling ducts.
As it turned out, they did have little tiny poinsettias. It was over in the section with the little tiny pine cones and the little tiny stars and the little tiny stocking caps and the little tiny snowflakes and the little tiny penguins and the little tiny stables and the little tiny shepherds and the little tiny Marys and the little tiny Josephs and the little tiny Santa Clauses (apparently they didn't get the memo about that evil old man) and the little tiny elves and the little tiny candy canes and the little tiny Christmas trees. (they didn't get that memo, either.)
On the way out to the car, Devan groaned.
"Oh no. This pack of card stock only has 25 sheets. I need 50."
I grunted. The fresh air was clearing my head and the testosterone was returning.