Peregrine over Torrey Pines

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I know that it is a gross generalization but I still submit that the average man would prefer a quick waterboarding than to have to endure a holiday shopping trip with the wife.  I hate shopping in just about all forms, but it gets exponentially more difficult this time of year.

It usually goes something like this:

"Honey, I have to drive to the coast and pick something up."

"Mind if I tag along, sugar?"

"Why, of course not, honeybunch."

"Can we see my mom?"

"Oh, sure sweety, never mind that she is another hour in the other direction in Coronado."

We get in the car and then the full breadth of my folly starts to unfold.

"You don't mind if I stop at Jimbo's, do you?"

"Of course not, snookums." Jimbos morphs into Henry's and then the quick trip to Trader Joes*, since we are so close of course we have to make another brief stop at Whole Foods and by now I am usually totally pissed off.

"You don't want to come in?" she asked me last week at Boney's. I gritted my teeth. No I think that I will stay here in the car and go over all the state capitols or something. "No problem, ten minutes" she says.

28 minutes later still no sign of her and I am getting pissy and apoplectic. The little angel finally shows up all smiling and I can barely contain my angst. "It was only ten minutes," she tells me. I show her the two phone calls I have made in her absence, one of a 25 minute and the other a 15 minute duration. It washes off her back like nobody's business.

"Well next time don't ask me to come with you," she tells me. "You don't shop, you have everything done for you," which is basically true.

Yesterday we added T.J. Maxx, Target and the Feng Shui store to the mix, Leslie being kind enough to pick me up after I dropped off the rental truck. She strongly suggested that I wait outside at the Target and I was careful not to engage any of the kids mingling around outside, for fear of being perceived as a child molester.

We headed over to the new vietnamese buffet on convoy, Phat. It is in the next strip center over from our dim sum place, Jasmine, where we had lunch last tuesday. Both meals were excellent and Phat is a great deal. Salted prawns, pho, the whole megillah. Speaking of chinese food, I read the other day that the jewish civilization is 5700 plus years old and the chinese about 4700. What did the hell did we do on christmas for the first thousand years?

Anyway then we went to Macy's and of course had to check out the cosmetic counter at Nordstroms as well. Well we might as well walk the whole mall. And the sad thing is that this pattern of behavior is repeated on male victims every day throughout this great land of ours.


I have the most incredible wife in the world, far above my station and merit. We are soul mates and sympatico on just about every litmus test ever conceived. I can think of no face that I would rather wake up next to, no other laugh that could make my ears ring with joy, no other person who can dot my i's and cross my t's. We just have a little time management problem.

I am extremely anal about time. I leave early for appointments and hate being late for anything. Leslie and her entire family are always late and consider my neurotic obsession with promptness obscene. I always make time for unforeseen traffic and unplanned hindrances. It is not in the wife's family's genetic coding. They used to always be late for family meals. I suggested that we tell them that the meal was actually scheduled for a time an hour earlier, thinking that they would then show up perfectly at the appointed hour. Actually did that once at the Rancho Bernardo Inn and she claimed that it was dirty pool.

To the time challenged, my behavior is a mark of a person who can not enjoy life to the fullest. Maybe time actually slows down for the perennial procrastinator, who knows?  But we are like two different species in how we approach this aspect of our lives. And the resultant push pull causes a lot of discord, not to mention fairly constant control battles.


Of course I do shop, I am in retail. I started my career in antiques in about 1985, working for that rascally snake Jim Shotwell. I flew and drove around the country requisitioning financial information from cities, counties and states from Maine to Florida to Seattle and all points in between. After about three hours doing my thing in the morning I would antique the back roads of America. This was before ebay and the computers ruined everything of course. In the old days I always said that you could drop me in any city in America with a couple of antique malls and 200 bucks in my pocket and I could turn it into $5000 in a month. Ain't like that anymore. But I was like a ninja in an antique shop. Get in, get out, surgical strike. I could observe, evaluate and assess a store in 15 seconds. Triage. And I made plenty of gelt. Believe me.

Leslie and most women for that matter, shop very slowly. They have to look at everything. We males tend to take a more macrocosmic approach. I shop as little as possible. Clothes shopping is the worst. I hate trying things on, especially pants.

Shopping is like a sport in the in-laws family. When my dearly departed father in law was alive he and his daughter would speak on the phone comparing the prices of steaks or some similar food stuff at the markets in town. And spend 10 more bucks on gas to get a twenty cent savings on the respective commodity. I am more like screw it, I want it, I'll buy it, throw it in the basket. Which I have been informed is totally wrong. Why did I buy that insert here  (bread, banana bunch, crackers. etc.)? "Because I am an idiot honey," I will retort, with no real dissension from my loving comrade. Some of the stereotypes about the tribe sort of ring true when it comes to not wanting to pay retail. The eleventh commandment - Thou shall not be a chump.


I shouldn't complain, everything is done for me after all and things are not magically delivered to the Sommers home. All the cooking, laundering, cleaning, food buying is accomplished wordlessly by this saintly being who has devoted her life to me and our cat, Nigel. But is it too much to ask to be given a pass from all the shopping business?

I hope that you don't consider me an inconsiderate lout for my crappy attitude. For I am not kvetching for just me, but for all my male brothers everywhere who can feel my pain. Frankly ladies, we are mad as hell and just not going to take it any more.

Just kidding, dearest.

*Trader Joes may be the worst of them all because it is laid out in a diagonal and women tend to bump into each other a lot. Total chaos, like the parking lot after a grateful dead show. Beware, men.


Anonymous said...

Robt. Always insightful writing,
Try shopping like that for 16 years. About 3 times a month, and lots of times it includes a cheap hotel room or camping out in the SF peaks for the second days round. Except no Macys, no good restaurants, no fancy malls--just the basic hicktown mall. Not even a Costco-just a Sams Club. Cheap tickets to NAU sports, except Jasmine hates sports.
We are both lucky to have pretty, intelligent wives who put up with our shit.


WildBill said...

They used to always be late for family meals.

Have a relative that used be like that. When she appeared ready to leave for whatever activity we had planned for the day, I knew I could then go shave, shower and get dressed and still have time to spare.

People who are punctual always have a good excuse on the rare occasions when they are late.

In my opinion, people who are always late are arrogant, manipulative, narcissistic, and/or disrespectful.  (Especially if they can be on time to other things more important like court hearings or airplane flights)

WildBill said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hey, Robert-
Have you tried Emerald on Convoy? I guess everyone has their favorite dim sum place, but I went to Jasmine when the lines outside of Emerald were too long to wait and had the dim sum there as there was no waiting and I had to have my fix. Between the two I prefer Emerald although Jasmine was still quite good. Emerald is a seafood restaurant at night and is very popular at lunchtime when the prices are much more affordable... I enjoy reading about your culinary adventures, the states offer truly a tremendous variety... bon appetit! Dave in Japan