I just celebrated a pretty wonderful birthday weekend in the Excited States of America, as my Mom might say. I mean, the REAL reason we went was to see “Death Cab for Cutie” in concert and it just so happened that it fell on my birthday, but I like to think that three of my friends and my wife all came to Minneapolis with me for the EXPRESS PURPOSE of hanging out with me for my birthday and oh hey: look! Death Cab is playing, let’s see if we can get tickets because we’ll be down there anyway! (Let me have this one).
In any case, one of the things people do on holiday is shop. I’m no exception. In fact, being on holiday is just about the ONLY time I like to shop. Or at least it is the only time that I feel like I can tolerate it. I guess if I am home there are a dozen other things I’d rather be doing, but on holiday, everything seems new and exciting and different and you’ve usually budgeted a little bit of “spending money” as some people call it so you don’t feel like you are “breaking the bank” by “treating yourself” to the odd thing. I promise no more “air quotes” in this “blog post”. Damn it! I mean, no more from here on in.
We all made out well, in fact one of us scored a sweet sweater for $7. I think that still counts as the “deal of the weekend”. (Okay, there will be more quotes. I can’t help it.) My personal best was a $20 pair of Levi’s, OF WHICH I AM CURRENTLY WEARING.
But it wasn’t until the drive home that we thought about our daughter. Or at least, my wife did. We were on the way home when my wife blurted out, “Oh! We didn’t get soccer shoes for Audrey!” I might point out that she said this about 4 seconds after we passed the exit to a Premium Outlet Mall on the edge of the Twin Cities. We still hadn’t even passed the mall, but it was too late. The next exit was 10 miles down the interstate, and I wasn’t feeling like backtracking with 7 hours of highway driving still ahead of us.
But it all worked out. The very next exit had a Target, or maybe it was a SuperTarget. I don’t know the difference, except that neither of them are in Canada anymore, if they ever really were. My wife had to “use the washroom” (sorry about the quotes, she had to pee, okay? OKAY? satisfied?) and so we thought this is as good a place as any to look for shoes.
We walked around aimlessly, with some outdated internal radar that told us that “shoes were in the back”. But all we could find were electronics. I saw a lady halfway down a toy aisle, a Target button clearly visible on her BOSOM and so I approached her and asked here where the shoes were.
Reader, I am not exaggerating when I say she looked up and gave me the cold stare of death for about 10 seconds. 10 seconds doesn’t seem very long, but let me tell you in this situation it was long enough to feel like I had done something I shouldn’t. It was enough time to turn and look at my wife with a “what do I do now?” look on my face, and it was enough time for her to shake her head at me. Do I ask again? Is she deaf? Is she “special”? (I can say that, right?) I almost backed away from her, leaving her to her own private misery when we barked, “AT THE FRONT”. I quickly thanked her and moved away. I couldn’t tell if she was just terribly rude, or if maybe every Target in America is laid out the same way and I was the idiot, akin to me entering a McDonald’s and making a beeline to the washroom (sorry, restroom) and asking an attendant at the urinal if he had fries. To be fair to the Target employee, we must have walked right by the shoes to get to where we were, but STILL.
So we found the shoes, and they WERE in the front, just as the nice lady said. Now, I don’t know my daughter’s shoe size. I didn’t even know there was a thing as “kid’s sizes”. Apparently she’s a 12 (just like me!) or maybe a 13? Then it goes to 1? There wasn’t a ton of selection, but I found a pair that was white and had a bit of sparkly glitter. I thought they would be perfect. I mean, they were just for soccer, and it’s not like we were spending a couple hundred on cleats. Our daughter is still at the age where hugging a familiar team-mate (or even opponent) is more likely that any ball kicking. They don’t even have goalies.
I was itching to get back on the road, so we picked up these shoes and were on our way.
Fast-forward to this morning. I was eating breakfast when our daughter shuffled into the kitchen. She was asleep when we got home last night so this was the first time we had talked since we got back. It went something like this.
Me: “Hey Auds. We got you soccer shoes for tonight.”
Audrey: “Do they light up?”
Me: “What? No. They are just shoes.”
My wife: “You don’t need light up blinking shoes.”
So you can imagine our astonishment when she took them out of the box, banged them on the table and said:
Audrey: “They DO light up! They DO!”
And sure enough, they did.
They seemed to work on pressure in the soles or something. Red lights in the heels and along the sides blink as she walks or runs. I don’t even know if that’s regulation on the soccer pitch. It might be too distracting to the other team. I checked the shoebox and no where on there did it say they damn runners were wired in such a way.
But I’ll tell you this: you’ve never seen a face filled with more joy and delight than the face of my daughter when she realized her dumb parents were duped into buying blinkers.
I related this story to a co-worker today and her take was that they only make blinkers up to a certain size. I thought that was pretty profound. If there is any time in my daughter’s life that she should have blinking runners, it’s now. Who cares if they are not regulation? Who cares if they are not necessary?
They are fun, pure and simple.
And who couldn’t use a little more blinking fun in their life?