Time to Think

Have you ever been so completely disoriented in life that it caused your mind to feel like it was imploding? What happened to enjoying a childlike innocence on your perspective of life as you naively walked through a valley of flowers and candy canes? I suppose everyone has to grow up eventually and hit the milestone in life known as the mental breakdown, I just didn’t think it would happen to me at the ripe young age of twenty.

Sometimes you just have to take a good look at your current situation and question what random series of events led you to where you are today. You just can’t help but ask, “What decisions did I make in my life to end up… here… doing this?” For me this happened yesterday and it truly was a life changing event.

Now before you get your hopes up, let me throw in a fair warning. This article is not going to be nearly as thought provoking as you would hope it to be.

So a few nights ago I was enjoying the many…wonders…of Miami as I was showing visiting relatives the magic that is South Florida. Before I knew it or could put up a decent fight in the situation, I was playing tour guide in the mall of all places.

Now imagine this for a moment. Go ahead, close your eyes and continuing reading this article while I describe this situation. Surely you’re able to read with your eyes closed by now…

Envision a semi-open air mall by the waterside. There are live bands playing and various carnival-like attractions scattered about. The entire area is lit up by a beautiful plethora of lights that just dazzle the senses and make you truly appreciate the concept of ‘Christmas in Miami.’

Now imagine that in spite of all this, your aunt and cousins (all of whom are female) want to do nothing more than go shopping for…swimsuits. Being the twenty year old hip and cool Floridian cousin, this should be no problem right? Famous last words.

It was like they had all conspired ahead of time to determine what was the most emasculating thing they could possibly do without directly humiliating one of their relatives, mainly me. Actually it wasn’t like that at all. That was exactly what it was.

So who could have possibly have been the mastermind and overlord of such a devious plot filled with untold amounts of deception and turmoil? As far as I know there is only force in nature that could possibly be so conniving, so unassuming, and could make you feel so guilty. Mom.

There I was, wandering from store to store always headed for the swimsuit department feeling like I was some kind of lecher with a strange fetish. Trust me, it really didn’t help that my cousins were much younger than I. You know what was one of the most disturbing parts of this whole experience? This mall trip was typically to stores you could find at anywhere on the North American continent.

Now usually I don’t mind trips outdoors like this at all, but this wasn’t what I had in mind exactly. Let’s see if you can figure out this conundrum. When being convinced that my attendance is absolutely necessary, the following argument was used.

“You don’t have to go with them everywhere. Just spend some time with them and head off wherever you want.” Sounds fair right? Again, more famous last words. I think that makes the previous famous last words the famous second to last words.

Now in the back of one’s mind, thousands of chemical reactions and synaptic gizmos all go off on berserk mode as we know right away that this is not true, yet some gullible trait that was imbed into the Y chromosome made me accept this anyways.

Of course when you are actually there, the numerous excuses rear their ugly head to trap you within this pit of doom. Does any of this sound familiar?

“Stay with the family. Why come if you didn’t want to spend time with us.” I do went to spend time with them, in separate places.

“You have the only cell phone. How are we supposed to find you?” Payphones. Or the ever popular running to mall security and saying you have lost your child.

“Come on. It will be fun. You can show us around.” Haven’t been here in 3 years. Not much chance of that happening.

If by now you don’t know what my point is and you are positive that I’ve been random this entire time, think harder. It will come eventually.

After the initial horror of being surrounded by overpriced pieces of scrap fabric being sold off as swimwear, one learns to get past their inhibitions of the whole situation. I’ve always been amazed with the human mind’s ability to overcome increasingly awkward situations and make the best of it all, and for once I got to see it in action and realize it was working. Yay mind.

That mentality of ‘So what? Who cares? In 5 years it won’t matter’ kicked in and suddenly the experience turned into a far more enjoyable one. It’s always a pleasure to play the role of the funny goofy older cousin and I think my cousins enjoyed my company too.

After an interesting run in with a quasi-rude waiter at an eating establishment and taking a relaxing stroll by the waterside, the evening as a whole was almost memorable after a positive frame of mind was adopted.

That was of course until we reached the last store.

Victoria’s Secret.Even I have my limits as to what I will and will not do, and this was one line in the sand I was not going to muddle.

It was here that I made an interesting observation. I wasn’t alone in my desperate plea to avoid having to go into a store full of posters of models wearing skimpy naughty Ms. Clause costumes. It’s a great promotional gimmick that is certainly an eye catcher but I’m still not going in.

Luckily just outside the store I was able to find my safe haven and become a member of an ever growing club. It was a gathering of men standing around holding shopping bags trying to act casual while lingering in front of a lingerie store. Sure, nothing unusual about that. Let me join them. Solidarity brother.

It was here that I realized that my new more positive thought process throughout this evening was helping me enjoy myself more. But the icing on the cake was when I met a poor guy that I shall refer to as Ben. After talking with Ben for about twenty minutes or so, I began to appreciate just how nice my relatives were being on this little excursion. Turns out Ben had been sitting in front of that particular store waiting for his party to leave for almost two hours. At least my relatives didnt wait until I was too uncomfortable before they decided to leave. All of a sudden my entire experience seemed rather trivial.

Ben was still waiting when my party left the store and it was time to return home. I was thinking about lighting a candle in honor of Ben and the sacrifice he has been made but people get scared whenever I play with fire. So instead I wrote this. Consider it a salute to all those guys thrown into awkward situations by the two most powerful emotions in the world. Guilt and Love.

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