Blurred Lines

I’m writing this in what I call the Twilight Zone period of the holidays. It’s after Christmas but before New Year’s. Kind of sad that Christmas is over but waiting to celebrate the new year. It’s when my wife puts me through what I call the “waiting in line” stress test. It starts with the “After Christmas” shopping sales and returns.

It seems I have no value to my wife when it comes to shopping, as you know from my writing about it all these years. She tries to create various duties for me so that somehow I’ll be involved and, by some miracle, enjoy the process. But I don’t see how holding her purse, carrying shopping bags like a pack mule or rendering my opinion on women’s fashion could ever do that.

But she has discovered that my presence is highly valuable this time of year – for waiting in line. Seems that I am her waiting-in-line surrogate. I think that by longtime retail tradition, you do not stand in line to pay for your purchases until you actually have the items you want to buy.

My wife seems to think that she can save time by having me wait in line while she runs through the store selecting her purchases. From a husband perspective, I can tell you that this creates a lot of undue anxiety in us. That’s because I equate this with cutting in line, since I have nothing to pay for, while others in line do.

Plus, I almost always will advance to the cashier and not have my wife’s purchases, so I look like an idiot. Then I have to let others go ahead of me anyway, so the stress I suffer is literally futile. There’s actually a worse situation than that, where I will have a bunch of stuff to pay for, lured into thinking our shopping is complete.

Then, just as the cashier starts ringing us up, my wife will dash off to pick up an item she forgot. So I’m praying that, by the time the cashier rings up the last item, my wife will be back with her additional purchase. Somehow, she always manages to make it, but not before I suffer a near coronary attack.

Actually, that condition is reserved for when the cashier charges her the wrong price.