Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Softer, Gentler Trophy Heads a/k/a Don't Go Into that Target

There are things which you do not need from Target, but for which you seek (i.e. Martha Stewarty paper honeycomb balls for a one-year birthday party). Then there are things which you do not need, but which you feel others near to you don't realize they need (i.e. respectably unstained, subtly striped tee shirts), the selecting of which leaves you feeling all "wifey," technical accuracy aside.

Next come the needless Target products which fill you with certainty: one of your friends definitely wants this. But who?
Weirdly perfect, almost. Do they call in the shades to make up-selling inevitable?
Naturally, creating subsequent levels of nifty want-passing-as-need is simply accomplished by strolling more aisles. They have pioneered and cornered the market on products which will make your life a touch more glamorous and stylish and yourself hipper than you were to start. Why deny yourself?*

Having a baby in your cart** is also handy for this endeavor, as you can present newest thing to Baby. Once she laughs, you say, "Oh, you *like* it don't you! I do, too. Yes: we like this."

Pandas vs. Sharks
After your meandering, you eventually arrive in your destination aisle -- the reason for your visit. The selection is less than you had hoped, somehow less sparkly than what you had in mind. The best colors sport empty hooks of nothing. But still, these are the things you need, and you have spent all this wandery time, when else will you go elsewhere? The Baby punctuates your dismay with a sudden bellow (0 to 6, baby disruption scale) and strains her body up against the car seat restraints before flopping back in resignation. She looks at you sourly from within leopard print polar fleece. You toss a handful of decorations at the baby's feet and hustle to the bank of registers, as she repeatedly flings her arms at the plastic bags.

In the aftermath of Target, mild guilt is paired with a longing for more embroidered pillows***. In the balmy air on the back deck, one makes the unfortunate discovery of holes in the new, cheaply-made stuffed animal-pillow hybrid. Bahhhhh! You say, Target! Lamentable throw-away culture! and then you get out a needle and thread instead of driving back to the store. This bout of mending is sufficiently rare for you to get a kick out of using a thimble (a thimble! with a tiny leaf pattern circling its rim); and the early Spring birdsong is riotous. And the bearish pillow-animal has chutzpah, for all his shoddiness. You already envision resting your head on him, in the play yard area, next time you are woefully tired and your child is woefully sprightly.

In the suburban wilds
And a Panda to watch over us

Picture Book Bonus: At left is one of my current library faves. He is a a lonely shark in the city, who consumes too many detective shows and too many potato chips...but he dreams of being...Shark Detective! The rambunctious kiddo ripped one of the pages while we spoke about being gentle (not really getting this concept yet), but up until then, we had been reading this one a lot. It's really fun! I read it to my Dad on the phone today, and he laughed several times. It makes me wish he were here to read it directly. From the publisher page: "Perfect for fans of Love Monster and Dragons Love Tacos, this sweet and funny story about an unexpected friendship will delight creatures of all ages." I know neither of those titles, but doesn't that spur your interest? Shark Detective by Jessica Olien

*But for the myriad downsides of mass produced chic, including labor conditions, training one's consumer self to buying for the moment rather than the long haul, which one could argue is at the heart of consumerism across the board, right? but here we are in Target, so none of us are radical, or consistently so.
**non-crying preferably, so: either fatigued enough to be slightly glassy-eyed, or freshly rested (and/or fed) so its prone to easy laughter.
***which the Baby also likes, fond as she is of raking her baby nails across embroidered yarn

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