Rar, check out my plastic abs!

Last December, one of Mum’s friends dropped and presented me and my bro with clothes from Hollister’s — a gesture that pretty much made me feel guilty for existing.  However, my vest had the plastic tag locked on it (the one that goes BEEP BEEP BEEEP all hernia-like when you walk out the store) and my brother’s hoodie was a tad too small.  (Actually, it fit just right but to him, tight isn’t cool — having clothes drip off of him until he looks saggy is his definition of cool.  It makes sense to him).  Mum’s friend left the receipt so that we could go exchange the stuff if necessary — you know, if we were too tubby for it.  Apparently that happens when members of your family forcibly shovel Korean bbq down your throat while reprimanding you about the dangers of going vegan.

So Mum and I went into our happy red mini-van that just recently, according to family news, died (RIP forever, faithful Nissan Quest) and has been replaced by a swanky Kia which I will get to steal will get to see when they drive to my graduation.  Unfortunately, it does not have a VCR, which means no more dubbing over Frodo’s voice in LoTR during long unbearable road trips (I get carsick so I need the distraction) and making sounds of flatulence to pretend that the hobbits are farting whenever they run, causing us to laugh until we bleed, and making Mum turn around to ask us exactly how old we are.

Anyways, Mum and I nipped into the Harrisburg Mall and into Hollister’s.  The entrance was like walking into a dark grimy mouth because apparently Harrisburg is in standard Eastern time zone, and Hollister’s is in…I don’t know, Tokyo time.  It was so dark I was running into mannequins and stalls, and squinting at the price tags and rubbing my eyes to make sure I was just imagining that one t-shirt on sale cost $30 (I wasn’t imagining it).  The inside of the store was tremendously loud, the air poisoned with emo music — the kind where  the lead guy and guitarist and bassist wear eye liner and leather and touch themselves a lot as they sing and seem to exhibit some sort of sexual frustration and dash off the tips of their black-polished fingernails power chord after power chord after power chord whilst wailing “I love you but do you love me oh woe life trash sad facepaint penguins roses resurrection and death and stuff.”  Repeat chorus 15x.  Crassly put, that shit was loud-ass. Mum and I had to yell when we needed to say stuff.  We yelled at each other, we yelled at people (“PLEASE EXCUSE US, COMING THROUGH!!!!!“), we yelled at the cashier for an exchange.  We were very polite about it though, with the formal jargon in place.  Maybe that is how I will talk when I’m 70 years old and slightly deaf from listening to too much Drunken Tiger.  Because it was nighttime in Hollister’s, the cashier helping us had to hold the receipt to his nose to read it.  The result of all this?  I got a killer migraine.  Which, inevitably, made me cranky as hell.

It was my first time in Hollister’s and I noted how nice and classy all the clothes were, an observation that served to make me feel like a grungy piece of trash.  I was wearing sweatpants with fugly boots and a bigass coat that could double as a maternity coat (it seriously looked as though some uncreative designer took a big sheet of felt and added buttons to it.  That and being up all night watching a Witch Hunter Robin marathon made me look like some kind of creature from the lost lagoon).  My head was topped with a hat I had rescued from the Lost and Found bin at work.  I was not, shall we say, feeling too gorgeous.  As I stood waiting for Mum to finish talking with the cashier, a grandpa cut right in front of me all whisk-like in a manner that made me feel slightly offended.

 His wife came behind me, which left me trapped between a wall of old people at Hollister’s (old people @ Hollister’s?!).  I asked the wife if I could get out since I wasn’t standing in line.  She took my shoulder and said, “You were standing so still my husband thought you were a mannequin.”  I think I sort of stared off into space, because that would make me one helluva junky, trashy mannequin reserved for the preppy, glitzy Hollister’s incinerator.

I kind of looked like this at that time.

I was very, very glad to get out of that store, and Mum remarked that she could not imagine working there herself for 30 minutes without going insane.  It did take some time for the ringing in our ears to subside and, mission accomplished, we treated ourselves to amazing Vietnamese noodles.

The restaurant we visited was one of the highlights of the day.  Every Thursday, the owner of the restaurant accepted a penny from those who have lost their jobs in exchange for a bowl of noodles.  That way, the jobless still had some dignity in that they could pay something for their meal, and the owner could generously provide for them amidst this recession.

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