Sunday, August 10, 2008

Apocalypse Mall

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

I've been wanting a forager's bag for when I'm teaching wild edible plants. It needs to be made of heavy-duty cotton, have plenty of large and small pockets, no velcro, a nice shoulder strap, and preferably leather and metal hardware. Something like this or this.
Something kind of rugged and manly, if I may be so vain.

Not finding exactly what I wanted at the local Army/Navy Surplus stores I decided to go to the mall and see if the Banana Republic, Ambercrombie & Finch, or some of the other manly store might have a manly bag. Misseswether was kind enough to let me go alone as I've been really stressed out at work and needed a break from things (ie, two little girls who love their daddy and want him to spend every minute with them).

I haven't been to the mall by myself in almost ten years. Most of my trips since then have been in the tow of Misseswether, which involves a lot of standing outside women's dressing rooms holding her purse while trying not to look like some pervert.

Nope, this time I was a freshly hair-cutted, treadmill-running, yoga-doing, push-uping manly man looking for manly stuff...

I completely forgot that school was starting in two weeks.

This was pretty much the last weekend for high schoolers to get their hot new duds (do cool people still call clothing "duds"?).

Now, I've faced down a herds of feral hogs, had 10' alligators bump my canoe, travelled to places where the next white guy was 500 miles (or more) away, work with hydrochloric acid at 300F under 3500psi on a daily basis...It takes a lot to scare me.

But there was no way I was going into Ambercrombie & Finch filled with 15-17 year olds! Or Hot Topic, or the store with the big picture of some topless guy blocking a direct view of the merchandise inside. I even turned and ran out of Spencer's Gifts!

There wasn't a store I could go into without feeling like some creepy old man spying on high school girls. That includes the Apple store! I just wanted a nice messenger's bag. Instead, I was forced to face the fact I was entering middle age.

No matter how much a 40-year old works out, he's nothing compared to the basic high school jock. To store clerks less than half my age I don't even exist. Never mind that I have a Ph.D. and patents, have traveled the world, solved million-dollar problems, and am a pretty good father/husband/adventurer. I may as well be a stinky homeless person to them.

Or worse, some middle-aged guy.

Peace be with you, because it isn't with me...



SimonF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SimonF said...

Calm down MW, this is what the Internet was invented for.

Crank up the wireless laptop after a hard days adventuring, grab a beer and hit tha hammock at the bottom of the garden. With even the smallest amount of planning the girls will be cooking your kebabs in the firepit and you can order either of those 2 bags before they drop the first sausage in the flames.

Not being able to go to the mall is a *good* thing...

Merriwether said...

"Not being able to go to the mall is a *good* thing..."

Yeah, I know that now. Mmm, beer, garden, shishkabobs. Now that's a much better Sunday afternoon!

J. David Boyd said...

Ambercrombie & Finch isn't a store you want to go into, anyway. They don't sell great outdoors gear anymore, just clothing for teens and young adults. Lots and lots and lots of clothing.

I was in Boston a few years back, and talked my wife into going into one. I wanted to look at the fishing gear, and hunting supplies. I had read about the store for years in the pages of Outdoor Life, and Sports Afield.

All it had was wall-to-wall "cool duds". Yuck.

Henry said...

Lol, funny post. So true.

Oh, and I've learned that only "duds" like us refer to clothes as "duds."