Thursday, November 26, 2009

In the air there's a feeling of... road rage?

In a few days the holiday season is going to be full on, and people will go insane.

It will start with Black Friday, when millions of people will ratchet their tired butts out of bed at 3 a.m. to stand in front of Best Buy for an hour in the hopes that they will get an iPod Touch or laptop for under $200. And, as an added bonus... if you live in MN you have a 90% chance of it being 25 degrees or colder that morning!

Then for the next 4 weeks, every store in every mall in every city will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. in an attempt to squeeze every possible shopping dime out of the holiday zombie collective. But I understand why they do it. After all, businesses like this need to sell their swords SOME time.

But for me, the biggest insanity will be the traffic. I don't have to shop on black Friday and I don't have to expose myself to the mall madness, but I do have to drive. And for that I am most uptight.

St. Cloud is a relatively small town, but because we are a central retail hub for a very large rural area, we see a LOT of traffic squeeze through our undersized main street corridor. And it is especially maddening during this most wonderful time of the year.

Nothing makes me crazier than sitting at a stop light for not one, but two and sometimes three cycles while the line of cars in front of me attempt to inch their way through a grid-locked intersection. I simply cannot stand driving in those circumstances. Last year, during this same period, my wife asked me to run over to the supermarket because she didn't have everything she needed for the fancy Christmas dinner she was preparing.

"Really?" I whined. "Do you really need to make that? I know there's like 3 boxes of mac and cheese in the cupboard.  No, seriously - we'll sprinkle some paprika on it."

Ugh. I'll do everything in my power to not be subjected to that torture... like shop online instead of going to the mall, work from home instead of going to the office, and watch this guy on TV instead of going to church. Hey, I told you - I really don't like traffic.

I hate it so much in fact that in one of my very first blog posts I wrote that I wanted to move to North Dakota because "... in the entire state there is only one intersection that has the potential to gridlock." Doesn't that just sound like paradise?

I know, I'm a whiner, but it's only because it has finally sunk in. Normally every year I get surprised all over again when I innocently head out for a gallon of milk and it takes me 2 1/2 days to get back home. But not any more. Thanks to this blog I now remember what I have to look forward to. Umm... thanks, I think.

Anyway, that also just reminded me of one more thing I need to do... run out and grab a boatload of mac and cheese before tomorrow!


Idaho Dad said...

For years now, I just plain don't go out to shop during these weeks leading up to Christmas. I remember being a kid at Christmas with a few bucks in my pocket to shop for my mom and sister. It was pure bliss to run free at the local mall. Now, too many people, too much chaos, too much consumerism. It just depresses me.

So I shop online!

Hey, your town sounds like mine. I'm in a small town of 35,000, but it's the retail hub of North Idaho, so we draw from a population of around 100,000. And they all seem to be passing through that one intersection, just like yours. We've learned all the back ways and short cuts to avoid that area.

Still, it's nice that we only have that one intersection. Last time we were visiting Seattle, it seems like EVERY intersection is gridlocked over there!

Junk Drawer Kathy said...

I'm inching ever so much closer to being Ebeneezer Scrooge. It's the traffic, the stressed-out people, the pressure to buy, buy, buy! Can't stand it.

Oh, and I'm guessing you'll be jealous to find out our grocery store is just a half mile from our house. We could walk if we wanted to. Yea!

Happy Thanksgiving, Jeff!

JD at I Do Things said...

Oh, my god. Thanks for reminding me I need to shop for swords.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Maureen said...

Oh my Jeff... good thing you don't live in Minneapolis! I thought St. Cloud was a rather quaint town without the stresses of the Big City.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family by the way!!!

Anonymous said...

We have our christmas present already, courier delivered it yesterday - this year we have finally relented and bought a Wii with a shedload of games and that strange WiiFit thing.

Its one present for the whole family, no other purchases are now necessary, I can sit back safe in the knowledge that I will not be called upon to drive anyone anywhere between now and christmas.

Thats the theory anyway

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Idaho Dad - I know, I use the shortcuts too. In fact, if I go through one alley here by my house and cut across a guy's back yard, I can eliminate 2 stop lights!

Kathy - Ha! You forget... I know you'll probably get lost trying to find your way home from that store, so no - I'm not jealous.

JD - You're welcome. I hear katanas are 1/2 off tomorrow morning. And so are your limbs, the next day.

Maureen - Don't underestimate my stress potential. I once got road rage in McCook, Nebraska. Do you have any idea how small McCook, Nebraska is?

jerrychicken - Sounds like fun. Good luck with that! And do let me know how "fit" you get with that thing.

Heather said...

My oldest would love to have mac and cheese for supper on Christmas! She'll be right over.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

It's the human traffic I don't like. The cranky mothers trying to get their kid that last Transformer or whatever the heck they think that brat needs.

Oh. Crap. That was me trying to get that...

Well....I hate those other slow pokes. Let's be honest. I got there first so suck it up, beyotch.

Mom Thumb said...

I hate traffic, and we don't have anything like a rush hour in our relatively small town. So I'm in Minneapolis right now and not liking driving ANYWHERE. I'm defintely not going to the MOA today.

Janna said...

I despise traffic.
Even in my tiny little Michigan town, the traffic gets congested enough to annoy me.
This is why I'm here at home sitting in my bathrobe on Black Friday.
No parties, no entertaining, no interpersonal stress, no expenditure of money, no road rage.

Anonymous said...

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EverBright Smiles