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It's the most wonderful time of the year

In a lapse of judgment about six weeks ago, I scheduled haircuts for J.P. and myself for December 10. At the mall. One of the biggest malls on the East Coast. Since that was Saturday and it's now Monday night, I think I MIGHT be able to write about our experience without having a stroke.

The mall was crowded, but mostly manageable. The problem was the parking lot. We drove around for a good 15 minutes in search of a parking space, and finally found a spot. We were about to pull into it when a woman walked between the parked cars and stood right in the vacant spot! When we paused with the blinker on and gestured for her to move out of the spot we had claimed (as her husband waited behind us in their car), she looked bored and waved us away. She didn't even have the sense to look sheepish or guilty, or try to explain that her father was on his deathbed and they just had to get him an iPod for background music as he made his trip to the other side. Rather than cause an altercation, I began to seethe and we moved on.

Up one aisle. Down the next. Up another. Down the first aisle again. We zigged and zagged our way through the lot for several minutes, even stalking people with baby strollers and packages. We were prepared to wait while they spent 20 minutes loading their cars. But of course, they were just dropping things off, or faking us out by walking down our aisle when their car was three aisles away.

At last we turned a corner and saw two guys walking toward their BMW. No heavy packages, no whining kids. Perfect! J.P. turned on the blinker and pulled into position. Meanwhile, two other parties returned to their cars on the other side of the aisle, and two additional cars assumed their waiting positions. From overhead, it looked very similar to this:



As we waited, a black car carrying three teenage boys pulled up behind us. They honked, but there was no way we were going anywhere. Then they pulled in front of us. I thought they were just going to go by and continue their own search, but it soon became clear that they intended to take the spot that we had claimed.

I couldn't believe it! Without even thinking (J.P. was in mid-sentence), I jumped out of the car, ran over, and stood next to the BMW. As it pulled out, I stepped into the middle of the parking space. (Good thing that nasty woman gave me the idea!) J.P. was able to maneuver around the other car and park. Buoyed by our victory, we headed toward the mall.

We looked over our shoulders to see the kids in the black car pull into space B, which car #2 had rightfully claimed. Even two days later, my blood pressure rises when I think about it. I'm not prone to vandalism, but I really think I could've keyed that car. And I don't think I would've regretted it or felt even a little bit guilty. J.P. was nicer—he wanted to let the air out of their tires. I bet the people in car #2 would've helped us, too.

Thank God for internet shopping.
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