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2004-12-27 @ 12:17 a.m.
National Return Christmas Shit You Didn’t Like Day


Oh, I’m sure I’ll miss my mother at Christmas when she’s gone, but for now I get to savor that special twinkle she brings to the holidays. Usually she’s in the ER at Christmas, because, well, that gives everyone a chance to give her the much needed attention she requires to exist. But this year, we dodged the bullet, and got to share the holidays with a woman who somehow manages to kidnap the biggest holiday of the year, and make it about her, her HER!.

Whether it is in small ways like buying me way more presents than I buy her to prove HOW much she loves me (Merry Guiltmas!) or sitting at the dinner table at my aunt’s house and regaling everyone with inappropriate stories about her alcoholic brother plowing into a tree while everyone else is telling stories about their happiest Christmas memories. But its really those life affirming moments when we start opening presents that are the best...

Me opening a gift from her. I barely had the top off the box when she suddenly bellows from across the room:

“YOU DON'T LIKE IT, DO YOU. I HAVE THE RECEIPT! YOU CAN TAKE IT BACK. I KNOW YOU DON'T LIKE IT. I CAN TELL!!.”

Frookin’ hell woman, would you at least give me a chance to NOT like, before you condemn me to eternal Not-likedness.

That is an example why I am such a nervous girl who cannot enjoy simple moments. I’ve had to deal with this my entire life. I’m not a real demonstrative girl. In fact, I’m very shy and guarded because of my mother. For instance, once I got an incredibly exciting present from my friend down in Manhattan. He handed me TWO tickets to TWO Broadway musicals in one day, which was definitely a Big Yippie Yippie Event, worthy of jumping up and down and screaming. But did I do that? Nope. I just quietly beamed with extreme happiness and that was all the situation called for, right? But my mom, yesterday, felt the need for me to have an extreme reaction over a $12 sweater she had gotten me at the Fashion Barn. And when I didn’t deliver, she punctuated her guilt-mongering with:

“And that’s from the regular girl’s department, NOT THE FAT GIRL’S DEPARTMENT.”

I guess that was supposed to somehow make me feel good, since I’ve now “graduated” from Chubbiosity to the “regular” girls department. But for me, it was more a case of pipe down there, momsy, I can only talk to my therapist about so many things. All I have to do is go back to my diary in 1970 when I was 12 and read all the entries where you used to say I had a fat ass, and remember why I now have such low self esteem.

And then irony upon irony, the sweater from the “regular” girl’s department was actually a little tight. Oh the shame. Too many pieces of chocolate christmas fudge evidently. I mean, the sweater fits, but I look like a lumpy Rosie O’Donnell. And I don’t like sweaters that show my lumps. And unfortunately my aunt got me another sweater with the same ailment. An ailment called the size: Medium. How nice that everyone thinks I’m a medium. How totally groovy in fact, but, heh, it’s all an optical illusion folks. That’s why I have the largest collection of black sweaters on the East Coast. The wittykitty Memorial Black (cough hide the fat) Sweaters Collection. Call now for tickets.

But being with the normal side of the family was a good thing. I really don’t know why they are so normal, or why my mom is so abnormal. They are all so happy and cheerful and loving. There are no hidden agendas. There are no unrealistic expectations. They don’t expect you to jump up and down and scream like you just won a $50 million LOTTO when you open a $5 giftcard to Blockbuster.

Three of my second cousins, who are incredibly pretty blonde girls, hotties, if you will, were all laying on the couch with their dad, playing with each others hair and stroking each other’s faces. And I was like WTF? Siblings who aren’t screaming and hating each other? What are they Stepford daughters? But I have known them since they were tiny kids and for such pretty girls, they are very down to earth. One of them is in college to become a female sportscaster. Another incredibly cute male cousin is studying to become a minister. Another cousin is studying to be a doctor. My God, how did they all turn out so lovely?

Because then I look at my siblings. Me, well, I’m not exactly a blazing success. I’m on disability for mental illness with a part time job. My brother is an artist. He’s somewhat successful but definitely a legend in his own mind. He’s a lot like my mother. My sister down south could be the subject for a week’s worth of Jerry Springer shows. She was married to a guy for 30 years and was wondering....hmmmm, why do I keep getting low grade STDs? Oh...my husband is fucking prostitutes while he’s at work. That’s why. And then one of the prostitutes started boldly calling their house, insisting that my sister’s husband was the father of her baby. How a drug addicted prostitute could possibly ever pin down paternity on any one person is rather a mystery to me, but my sister’s husband, out of guilt, took the bait and left my sister, who had never worked in her entire life. But her husband continued to support her until she met a much younger man, as in MUCH younger (say almost 30 years) and married him. He then started emotionally abusing her. And didn’t work. And he wouldn’t let her work. And they were so broke, my sister was living off food baskets from the local churches. And then my ex-brother in law hooker/wife started acting really weird, as in saying she was going down to Walmart with the baby and returning 3 days later without the car (she sold it for drugs). And then my sister’s ex-husband started to see the err in his way and started contacting my sister. But her husband was extremely jealous, as in, she couldn’t leave the house or talk on the phone, let alone meet her ex-husband somewhere. Then the prostitute started getting worse, like turning tricks in front of the kid (she’s around 4), stealing money from my sister’s ex and my nephew. My sister’s husband was afraid to contact the authorities because HE didn’t want to lose the child, and she threatened to kidnap her if he ever turned her in. Talk about getting your ass kicked for cheating on your spouse. Payback is a bitch, huh “M”? I also do have one other brother I haven’t seen since 1970. He used to be a major bad ass in his youth. Beating up people. Getting thrown into jail for drugs. He lives near me now, but has expressed wishes not to have anything to do with my mother. And since I came from her uterus, I am part of the deal too.

So, as you can see, my mom really raised a family of emotionally sound champions.

Oh geeze, I actually forgot my oldest sister. She’s pretty normal. She was a teacher. But the reason she is normal, I suspect, is because at a very early age (maybe 3), she went to live with her real father, after he divorced my mother, so she grew up under probably more nurturing circumstances I suspect. By the way, heh, heh, she won’t give my mom her home address.

So, it was nice being with the normal side of the family. Got some nice gifts. A sweater from my aunt (which my mom, on the phone today, proclaimed, “wasn’t really you, like mine was.” Well, to be truthful, neither of them were me since they weren’t Black, but whatever!). Also a bunch of little goodies like a toothbrush, dental floss, toothpaste, deodorant (my aunt is very into cleanliness) and 4 cans of chicken noodle soup. My cousin gave me a bag full of spa-like supplies like a loofah pad, body lotion, foam bath, pumice stone, Oil of Olay body wash, foot scrub, a nylon scrubbie thing, two brush thingies (to maybe buff off dry skin?). My mom also gave me bubble bath. (Do you think maybe people trying to tell me something about my personal hygiene with all these bathing supplies?). I didn’t really like bubble bath, so I brought it back today during National Return Christmas Shit You Didn’t Like Day. I also purloined a $5 Blockbuster giftcard from my mom. My cousin had given it to her, but she doesn’t watch videos, so I was free to search out a copy of “Anger Management”. I went to two stores today but still can’t find it. Grrr. Is it really that popular? no witty, you just live near loser Blockbuster stores.

After I returned the bubble bath I went over to A Nationally Known Art Store which was right across the parking lot. My pastels are practically down to nubs right now, so I thought I would see if the Nationally Known Art Store was having any kind of sale. I got there around 5:30, and the place looked like a cyclone hit. All the Christmas goodies were either slightly askew or gone, but I was looking for pastels. Damn. No 1/2 off sales. But then I spotted this one box down on the bottom shelf. It looked different from the others. It was strangely worn and old-looking. I then picked it up and looked inside. That’s weird. That’s REALLY weird. The pastels had been used. Plus there was one missing. And I was like WTF? Last time I checked, this Nationally Known Art Store was a retail outlet specializing in NEW art supplies.

So I took the box and showed it to a clerk. She looked inside and said, “Maybe this was from our classroom”. Well, fine, but then how did it end up out on the shelves? But then she disappeared with the box, presumably to see if it was “missing” from their arts/crafts room, I guess. She came back and didn’t say anything and then walked back over to the pastel aisle and then walked away once again, without saying anything to the backroom. I figured she was probably talking to someone who was going to make some kind of executive decision. So I was thinking, hey, maybe since they’re obviously used, I’ll give you $5 for them and we’ll just forget about the Used Products on your Shelves Mr. Nationally Known Art Store thing. It’ll be our little secret. But then the girl came back with a scanner gun and flipped over the box. It had $2.48 written on it. Hmmm. And then she scanned it. $2.48.

Remember that previous thing where I said I never jump up and down excitedly when things happen? Well, I definitely might have considered a slight variation in my demeanor at that moment, because these were Rembrandt Pastels after all. A really excellent brand. As in usually $32.99 for 12 freakin’ pastels! So when the girl said that price ($2.48), “...with 50% off”, I asked her to repeat it. And then said, “Merry Christmas to me!!” Whee!!

Oh witty, you gullible, silly artist girl. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

So I got up to the counter, all excited, handing it to the clerk, telling her that another clerk had said, I could get this item for 50% off. And it rung up for $32.99. And then I said, but no, it had scanned for $2.48 back in the pastel aisle.

sure, silly artist girl.

So the girl asked me to describe the person who had told me that price and damn if I could remember. And the clerk said, “Well, was it Jennifer?...Was it Sandy?” How the hell would I know. It’s not like we exchanged phone numbers for lunch. So she had to get on the loudspeaker to find witty’s imaginary Harvey person out in the store. The Harvey person with the magical scanner gun. Two people came up and finally the girl who had given me that price appeared and confirmed the price. In the meantime, a manager was lurking nearby, because I’m sure it seemed like some kind of major scam was afoot.

Hey, I’m not the Major Retail Art Supply Outlet, with used art supplies on my shelves.

So the manager came over and said, “That item is ringing up $32.99. We’ll let you have it for $19.99. But that’s it.”

Me: “But your clerk quoted me a price of $2.48. She scanned it with her scanner.” And the nearby clerk nodded her head and said yes.

Manager: “You can have it for $19.99 and that’s it.”

Me: “But they’re obviously used and missing pieces.”

Manager: “That’s okay, we’ll just “damage” it out.” And then she took the box of pastels, before I could even respond and slammed them into a box under the counter. If they weren’t damaged before, they definitely were now. I just flinched when she did that, because I thought of all the beautiful art I could have done with them.

What a fucking bitch. That was just about the poorest excuse for customer service I have ever seen. I wasn’t being the least bit testy. In fact, I was just excited to find some affordable pastels. Sure, it probably wasn’t realistic to expect to pay a mere $1.42, but I would have been happy to negotiate something. Because you do have to admit, finding used products on store shelves is pretty shoddy unless you’re at the Salvation Army. I mean, that’s like buying a package of Hanes Underwear and finding holes in them.

So I just walked out, vowing to never go there again. And also vowing to write a letter to their corporate headquarters and telling them about their crappy service and products. Because even though I am poor, I do drop about $200/year in there. At least. And I know a lot of people who shop there too. A LOT. And we could launch ourselves a little local boycott. Because we do have other art supply stores in town.

wittykitty...political activist. Attica, Attica, Attica!

Lastly, today is Married Guy’s birthday. I have been thinking of him all day. It’s been so hard not to drop him a line to say hello or wish him a happy birthday. I’m very into birthdays. I used to always e-mail him every year and say, “Now you’re REALLY old” and he would always e-mail me back and say, “Thanks for the reality check witty, love Married Guy.” Guess he’ll have to do without the reality check this year. And I think that was mine.


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