WELL, THE holiday rush is finally over and the Christmas wrappings have found their way into the trash. With varying degrees of enthusiasm everybody said they really liked their presents. For all too brief moments we were able to escape into holiday fantasy from the outside workaday world of war, the economy and the incomprehensible sideshows of the U.S. Congress.
Now we must look ahead to another election in November that is likely to make 2009 appear as a harmless prologue. Oh, my!
Living near a big shopping mall, I was able to enjoy an afternoon coffee break or two and the pleasure of witnessing the revered American Shopper - the nation's' rescuer of first and last resort - in scary acts of desperation. On several occasions I was nearly maimed by mothers using their strollers as battering rams to part the human knots ahead of them. Nearly everyone has a cell phone these days and they are never unused. It has been a right of passage into a cult in which you really have nothing to say but it's socially correct to say it anyway. Some people can even chew gum and talk endlessly on their thumb-powered gadgets. (As primates, we owe our thanks to prehistoric apes for such benefits that didn't occur to us until we learned that small talk could be exchanged while nibbling on pizza.)
"I got a new wristband for my watch. The one I had was too tight. Does that ever happen to you?""The mall is really busy today.""Do you think red is a better color than blue?""'I think my minutes are over the top, ya know. I'll call you when I get home.""The pizza was good, but I asked them to put it back in the oven to warm it up>"Etc. Etc. Etc.
There were sales posted everywhere. But one needed a calculator to figure out the price of a shirt that was reduced by 50 pct on top of the earlier discount of 3o pct. from an original price that was somewhere in a computer in another city.
My unofficial survey of the economy's seasonal recovery at the mall showed that the two best sellers were popcorn and stiff coffee. It will take a few months, however, for these numbers to show up on the next economic report. Meantime, I hope to enjoy continued success in evading the strollers.