I sat in my warm car with a hot coffee and carol music from the radio playing softly.
I watched the man shuffle across the blacktop, shoulders hunched and head down.
He carried two large plastic bags that looked like they carried the weight of his world. His face was gaunt and drawn into a perpetual scowl.
I wondered what could have caused a once obvious strong, vibrant man to become reduced to the shell I was watching stumble his way today.
Then suddenly, I realized he was an exhausted, beaten down husband following his wife to the car after four hours of Christmas shopping in the mall!
You will recognize the Christmas shopping husband in the stores at this time of year.
They look like they have just walked off the set of The Walking Dead.
Their vacant eyes are fixed with a blank stare, their breaths are short and raspy, and their mouths are hanging open, trying to speak but knowing that if they do it will be futile.
They will mumble something like, “Haven’t we already been in this store?” Or maybe, “Who are these people we are buying stuff for?”
They keep looking at their watch but the minute hand seems to be suspended in time.
They will be the ones apologizing to mannequins they bump into in the ladies’ wear stores and they will try not to gag in the candle/soap store where the combined scents of cinnamon, lavender, almond and vanilla clog their nose and create a sensory overload that causes a headache.
Often, two men will share some time leaning on their shopping carts like two desert travellers coming across each other at an oasis.
Their conversations are guarded and quiet.
“My wife had all her credit cards stolen last week. I haven’t reported it yet because the crook is using them less than she was.”
Or, “Last week she hung up on her sister and said they were never speaking again as long she lived. Today she just bought her a $300 sweater.”
Christmas shopping men are not allowed to buy gifts for other people.
Do you really think the Three Wise Men picked out gold, frankincense and myrrh by themselves?
You can bet their wives never considered them wise at all. The women bought the gifts and wrapped them and told the men, not to lose them and if it got cloudy and they couldn’t see the star to stop and ask for directions.
They were just glad to be going on a road trip.
Women and men shop differently.
To a woman, accessories can mean fashion items, jewelry, decorations or shoes.
To a man, an accessory is a belt.
Even though many women now shop online, most will agree that they still like the tactile excitement of being in the bright, noisy atmosphere of the mall and you can’t pass up 50% off.
Men, keep calm and shop on, you will survive. At Least that’s what McGregor says.