Next week my son goes back to school. This weekend is the dreaded back to school clothes shopping trip. He must go with me this time as I have no idea what size he wears now. Over the summer he has become a tall, thin stranger that eats massive amounts and questions my coolness in picking out the new must have fashions of middle school.
I remember last year’s trip with frightening clarity…..
I am standing outside the entrance to what can only be a cave. The interior is dark and I see indistinct shapes moving back and forth. The rhythm of an unfamiliar beat blares at ear piecing levels. I swallow back my fear, knowing this is where my son would want me to go.
I step inside.
I instantly stumble and catch myself on a nearby table heaped with piles of material. They all look the same in the dimness only briefly illuminated by strobe lighting that must surely be designed to blind trespassers.
I linger near the front.
I am eyed suspiciously by the gatekeepers; they know I do not belong. Their floppy hair and casually elegant clothing are a mark of their power and superiority. I glance down with shame at my dusty sandals and faded Capri pants.
I hurry to the back of the store.
The smell overwhelms me and I fight against my gag reflex. My nose burns and my eyes water as I rifle through the racks. The shapes laugh loudly and float around me. I finally grab a few pieces and run to the long shape in the corner. The small troll like figure behind asks me a question as she attempts to spray me with a mind numbing scent from a small bottle she holds protectively in front of her.
“Excuse me?” I say loudly.
She laughs and repeats. Still unsure of what was said, I shake my head and throw my credit card at her. Her hands move quickly in the dark and my card and bagged purchases are handed back in mere seconds. I stumble toward the light.
I make it and breathe deeply of the fresh air on the outside. I look back at the cave that I so narrowly escaped from. I make a note of the strange name so I can warn others of its dangers.
I must go again to this dreaded place….but I intend to send in my son while I wait patiently outside. Could it be that I’m not cool anymore?........nah.