Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Epiphanies at The Mall

Head Chef and I have been so busy moving out, moving in, shuffling around, driving both to and fro, and just generally finding things to occupy us outside the common current of human civilization that we've become a little more authentic.

Authentic? Oh, that sounds euphemistic, and I suppose that's a fair criticism. But while not completely unkempt, we're definitely a bit less kempt. You might say we've allowed our appearance to get a bit rugged, without going so far as to call us feral.

My mustache has gotten rather long and my neck goes well more than a week without shaving, granting me a wilderness creature affect that is actually quite fetching if I may say so myself. I bathe daily, but I might pull on yesterday's shirt because it's not visibly dirty and isn't malodorous yet. And Head Chef is no more or less relaxed in this way than I am. His normally smooth pate may get a bit of shadow, then a week's worth of stubble before we assault it with the razor again.

And so forth. But this is not terribly shocking in what passes for public in these parts. Rural California cares not for the well-heeled gentleman. No sir. So there's no need.

But the other day, we found ourselves in need to visit a mall. Yes, a mall in a real city. Imagine our horror. Just a day or two after Christmas, we pushed ourselves into a mall and strolled along amongst tightly primped teens, cute couples on second dates, and businessmen on their lunch break.

Smartly dressed in our dingy jeans, yesterday's thermal tops, and Wal-Mart's most bleeding edge $20 fashion footwear, we walked about, shopping for a French press. You'd be surprised how hard they are to find these days, and so we hit store after store. As our hunt wore on, we brushed ladies who were wearing perfume of all things. And men with not just a haircut, but a hair style.

At some point throughout this experience, my discomfort grew to a tangible level, and I realized that I was not of this world. In the span of a mere two months, I had moved from the above-the-bed realm of children and pleasant dreams to the under-the-bed, hiding-in-the-closet realm of monsters. And I announced my discovery to Head Chef.

"We're monsters." I carefully measured my delivery to indicate a statement of fact.

"We are?" he said as one who's just been told an obvious truth but cannot believe he hadn't come upon it himself.

"Oh yes. Don't you feel it?" I asked.

"I do! But I'm experiencing it more like being an alien dropped into the shopping mall. Disturbing." He shuddered for effect, then assumed a stiff-legged alien walk and posture for a few strides. Just enough to make us both laugh through our beards, but not enough to make us stand out any more than we already did.

For myself, I think I'll stick with the monsters. Although Head Chef would look adorable in antennae.

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