Well, folks, you’re looking at one big, fat hypocrite over here. I’m not proud of it, although, surprisingly, I’m not especially apologetic either.
Still, it seemed important to make that admission and to make it publicly. Because, at the end of the day, I know what I am. I’ve become something I’ve always felt pretty comfortable being critical of.
It started, as all good stories do, at T.J. Maxx last weekend.
I went with the intention of buying some doggy treats. But, of course, you can’t just head to the T.J. doggy aisle and head back home. There is a process to T.J. Maxx and that process starts, for me, on the very edge of homewares and proceeds way to the other side of the store.
On this day, they had Le Creuset casserole dishes on sale. In red. I’ve been casually hunting for these for the past two years, which is about when T.J. had them on sale the last time and I stupidly didn’t jump on them. That wasn’t going to happen again, so I grabbed a 9” x 9” and a 9” x 13”, feeling like I was winning at life.
I’m not sure if it was the red color or the rare find, but I was pumped. I mean, I almost wanted to stop someone and tell them how happy I suddenly was, except that that would label me as Someone to Gently Avoid.
Instead, I did stop a woman who had brought her dog into the store to tell her, a), her dog was adorable and, b), that I didn’t know pets were allowed inside.
She told me that, though she always makes a point to double check upon entry, T.J. Maxx is very pet friendly and so is Hobby Lobby. I packed this knowledge away in my cart, feeling like my day now possessed two more wins.
I continued on. I remembered I needed a new frame for this picture I’ve had of Peter, Matthew and I for years. In it, Matthew and I look alike because we are laughing exactly the same way at something Peter is saying, which is a rare thing because Matthew and I couldn’t look less alike since he got all the looks in the family and I was left with the dregs.
I’m not bitter.
Then I found the kind of coffee pods my husband likes (Joe’s; tall, dark and handsome flavor; I’m not even kidding) and then some capers and some smoked paprika.
At this point, I was practically bouncing down the aisles with all of my finds.
And then I hit a Halloween display. And then I hit a Thanksgiving display. And then I hit a Christmas display. Or maybe they hit me. I’m not sure what happened, exactly, but suddenly I was strongly considering a strange table centerpiece in the shape of a turkey. It didn’t have a function of any kind, it was just meant to just sit and helplessly watch you bring your cooked, carved turkey to the table come Thanksgiving.
Imagining what William would have to say about the kind of woman I’d become if I came home with that little number, I was able to talk myself down off that ledge. But only long enough to get enveloped by Christmas: Christmas-themed pillows, Christmas-themed doormats, Christmas snow globes, Christmas dishes, Christmas ornaments, Christmas wreaths.
Wait. Christmas wreaths?
And here is where I feel you should feel free to judge me all up and down.
I have long been a person who feels completely free, if not entitled, to judge others who start their Christmas shopping before Halloween.
My thought process went — note the past tense — like this:
Who are these people so keen on wishing their year away?
Can’t they control themselves?
What void are they filling?
What moral code has crash landed?
I’d even go so far as to avoid stores that decorated for Christmas too prematurely. For example, Kmart (god rest her soul) would play Christmas carols too early for my liking. So, I’d stay away.
But guess what?
I wanted that wreath. It was red and I wanted it. And if I didn’t buy it now, it would be gone for sure by the time Thanksgiving finally rolled around.
So, instantly trashing my long-standing policy, I put it in my cart.
And then, to top it all off, I went to the beauty product section and bought some Pecksniff’s apple spice soap. Also: red. For Christmas.
Because I am a hypocrite.
But at least I am now a hypocrite with a wreath and some soap.