Note to self: Never Go To Target Drunk.

It’s actually something a bad habit of mine here in the Midwest. Somehow, I always end up at a Target, or a Wal-Mart, or a Sam’s Club, with a few beers in me. Of course, there’s a super-store of some sort on just about every corner, so it’s not that difficult.

The guys — Dad, Chris, Ethan and I — had lunch at some bar and grille type place in a strip mall. I had a turkey burger and a few Bass Ales. What the heck, right? It’s vacation. And I’m not wasted or anything. But I feel good. I feel warm. All is well in Indiana.

Afterwards, Jen and I drive a few miles (it’s literally three turns from my dad’s place) to the Target. Actually, it’s more than a Target. It’s a Super Target.

I’ve got something of a list. I need some Hi-8 tape for the video camera. And I wanna pick up some rock clothes. That used to mean pleather pants and lamé shirts. Now it means jeans, t-shirts and velour jackets. And ever since I found that rockin ten dollar belt bucle at that Target in Des Moines, well…

So Jen and and I walk inside. The place is big. Super Target big. It’s like two New York City blocks. Seriously. The ceiling is way overhead, maybe twenty-five feet. There are thirty-five checkouts. THIRTY-FIVE. And it smells weird. Like fried food and popcorn. It’s all weirdly flourescent.

It takes me ten minutes in the electronics section to find Hi-8 tape. I pass bunches of kids playing video games. I pass a couple looking at iPod speakers. “You could use one of these up in the office,” he says. “But then we’ll need something else for downstairs.” I pass a store clerk telling some woman, “So this is the one with the mega-blaster.” I pass a dad and his son looking a cordless phones. He asks, “Is this 900 mHz? Or one gig?” And suddenly I get it. I am witnessing consumerism first hand! Peaple are all about buying things! This is what America does for fun! Debt be damned! And I’m stumbling blissfully down the aisles!

I wander over to the rock clothes section. (There really isn’t a rock clothes section, but Target tries to skew young and hip these days, and seems to have managed on about two out of every twenty-six racks). I find a brown velour jacket for $49.99. And it fits perfectly. (Well, it’s kinda boxy, but whatever; it’s forty-nine bucks). I also pick up a cool multi-color scarf.

But I’ve lost Jen completely. I wander the entire store in a daze. Twice. And I keep finding things I might need to buy. ‘Boxer shorts? Oooh, I could use some of these. Journey’s Greatest Hits? Hmmm. A cashmere sweater? Target sells cashmere!?!’

I see Jen way across the store. I exhale.

“I was afraid I was going to have to walk. And I have no idea how to get home.”

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