Certain magnetism exists between the mall and my wife. It is the allure of the over-accessorized ladies clad in black, past-the-knees dresses. They peddle their fragrances with relentless fervor while you hurriedly try to escape the cloud of chemicals emanating from the atomizer these women cling to like it’s their last weapon in the fight against the zombies. It is the cacophony of smells purging their way out of the food court rushing out in all directions like throngs of ghosts escaping from the Ghost Trap in any one of the Ghostbusters movies (if that analogy doesn’t make sense to you, you are too young or lacking the requisite knowledge to be reading this blog). It is the rush you get from competing with 14 other vehicles for the same spot and the joy of victory watching 13 other cars mope off to start another fight. All of these make the mall the place to be. All of these things and, well, watching the odd nature of teenagers and their poor decision making, especially with respect to facial hair and wardrobe.

So this was my Saturday. I was heading to the mall, and I was generally fine doing it, because there is nothing better than documenting the horrible lives of teenagers. We set off, driving down the long winding road towards civilization. For the sake of thoroughness, my story begins earlier in the week when an awkward blink of the eye sent my left contact lens tumbling to the carpet. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a lecture from a General Officer in the Marine Corps and could not start crawling around on the floor to find the rogue lens. Instead, and probably more annoying to the speaker, I notified the surrounding Marines using a complex gesturing system, which involved me mimicking an awkward blink, holding my palm over my eye, and simultaneously pointing to the deck. This is the universal symbol for, “Don’t make a scene, but I lost my contact lens. Try and look inconspicuous while you help look for it, but please don’t let the general know that we are only minimally paying attention.” Unfortunately, this symbol seemed to be less than universally understood and was met with judgmental looks of my peers.

The irony being that, without that contact, I could not read the presentation’s slides, which were covering how to read more effectively. Long story short: I am now wearing glasses.

We set off, driving down the long winding road towards civilization. The brightness of the sunlight flickering in and out of the trees along the country road created a strobe light effect washing out my vision. Luckily I had brought my prescription sunglasses. Even more luckily, the prescription sunglasses were issued by the Marine Corps to me. There are many like them, but this pair is mine. Donning their awesomeness, I was once again blessed with vision and continued on my trek. At this point in the drive, Whitney and I have been bantering back and forth, talking about this and that, and generally enjoying the moment. I was relaying a story about the price of some item. Here is how it goes:

Heath: I was surprised once the lady told me how much it costed.

Whitney: What?

Heath: I said that I was blown away by how much the stuff costed.

Whitney: I’m sorry what?

Heath: Growing more aggravated. “Whitney, it costed a lot of money, and I wasn’t going to pay it!”

Whitney: I’m sorry, but did your cool little glasses make you forget how to use irregular verbs? I let it slip once, because I thought you were joking.

At this point I understood I was beat, so I switched into what I call, “I am insulted mode.” It is also called, “Misdirection.”

Heath: Hold on here! What is wrong with my sunglasses?

Whitney: I didn’t say anything was wrong with your sunglasses.

Heath: You said, “your cool glasses,” with a really snarky tone like they are nerdy.

Whitney: No, I don’t think they look nerdy…. they look like women’s glasses.

Heath: Oh, you think that I won’t wear them out in public?

Whitney: It’s not that I don’t think you will; it’s that I hope you won’t!

I spent the rest of the car ride looking at my feminine glasses in the mirror wondering if it was worth it to wear them in public. The tone with which Whitney said “it’s that I hope you won’t” echoing in my head made my mind up for me. I would not be wearing my sunglasses where anyone could see them in all of their femininity. I would do this for the sanctity of my marriage, because I am a man. A man with feminine glasses, but a man still, and I will sacrifice my eyes for her happiness—our happiness.

Arriving at the mall, I quickly secured my manly, and very cool military issue glasses, changing them out for my more traditional ones for casual wear. The mall was as I left it. Teenagers everywhere. Teenagers everywhere making horrible decisions. On three occasions, I bore witness to a teenage boy buying jewelry of all levels of ornament for their teenage lovers. How happy they looked, happy and pathetic. I wanted to rush in and grab the young man and yell. I wanted to stop the madness. I wanted to stop this kid’s downward spiral into the abyss of stupid gift buying. That was when I saw their faces. I knew I could not stop it. Each of the teenage boys, still relishing in their transition from boy to man, were letting any possible hair that wanted to grow, grow. Their faces looked like training grounds for pubic growth. I was ashamed. I know I did the same thing. I know that there were instances in my past where I had two distinctly different colors of beard hair, but I rocked it like it was hot. Teenagers.

I was just getting over the tomfoolery going on at the jewelry stores when we wandered by a man and his wife. This woman was laying into her husband. It was the kind of argument where the man closes his eyes and flies away. He flies away to a land of unicorns, chocolate rivers, and rainbow avalanches. A land where Chumbawamba’s “I get knocked down, but I get up again” plays endlessly, and where teenagers shave until the hair on their chin is all one color and stiffness. The man was making all of the right body gestures, but his soul was gone. Robotically forcing apologetic movements, but internally, he was surfing the rainbow avalanche to the base of Marshmallow Mountain. Whitney looked at me and made me promise that I would never let her do that to me. She hated the sight of the man, how embarrassed he must have been, how broken. To her credit, Whitney would never do this anyway, but the sentiment was well taken. I took the moment to ask Whitney if she thought that the man wore the wrong sunglasses in public or used the incorrect form of an irregular verb….she smiled, and just kept walking.

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years…

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Comments
  1. I will only say that I think, I repeat “I Think”, you made the wrong decision for the right reason and that is why you’re happily married and I am happily divorced. You are a better person for it!

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