Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fall! Coping Mechanisms!

I don't exactly know how seasons work, but yesterday it was summer and today it's fall. Seriously. I drove through Fairmount Park today to get to Target (more on that later) and leaves are turning yellow, the grass is drying up, and the wind is whipping fallen leaves all over. It's 74 degrees and the breeze is chilly. I heart this weather! I cannot contain my excitement! I expect a great cooling off period and crisp mornings and rainy afternoons tout de suite. My windows are open! Yes!

I had a bad week this week. I was still having it yesterday.

Confession time:

Usually, I either a) fix the thing that's wrong, b) cry about the thing that's wrong, c) go buy something to make me feel pretty, or d) eat "anger food." In that order. If the first one doesn't work, I go on to the next thing. Ending at "anger food," which is food I like and treat myself with but is most likely bad for me. I haven't had an anger food run in a while. I don't eat a lot of it (this isn't a binge/purge story), I just buy candy and chocolates, which are things I don't really have around the house. M doesn't have a sweet tooth and I prefer cupcakes or home baked things. My mint Milanos/vodka/Martha Stewart Halloween magazine extravaganza a few posts back is an example. Just 4-5 of those cookies and I'm like, "OK, you were angry, but you have to get over it, move on. New crap is gonna happen that will make you forget about this crap right now." I mention the food thing because finding my favorite foods has been a little tough here.

I knew it was a different world over here, but the little things, like not finding Mother's tiny chocolate chip cookies, those are the things that get to you. There are inexplicable things that make no sense. Dreyer's ice cream is named Edy's here. Same packaging, branding, everything, just a different name. Why? Sometimes you'll think, "well, I guess that's a west coast thing that doesn't exist here," but then you'll see it a week later in another market and wonder why one Super Fresh has it but another doesn't. There are food secrets here, and just like with street signs and good Chinese food, you basically have to find out for yourself through trial and error, because nobody will tell you a damn thing. Andersen's Pea Soup, where are you?

It's all about learning what the Philadelphia version of my LA things are. That's taking time. Also, not having a perfect storm of annoying things happen all at once is good too.

For instance, I went to the Target in South Philly on Wednesday to try and ease my bad week blues. This place is not really a Target. I mean, if you went to Target's website and looked up the locations of all of the Targets, you'd see this one on the map, and it has all the branding in place, but if you actually went there? Nope. It will forever be known to me as post-apocalypse Target.

I have only been to that one a few times because it's hella far from my place. That Target is a war zone. It's not that it's in a bad neighborhood (it's not in the greatest neighborhood, but that's not the problem), it's that nobody seems to actually work there. On Wednesday I went and there were no carts in the front of the store. Carts strewn all over the parking lot, workers casually strolling around not making eye contact, while me and several other people just looked around aimlessly and threw up our hands, saying "Well I guess there's no carts, then." It's like a rain dance or something. If you look helpless and exasperated and say what is happening out loud, you hope the siren song reaches the ear of the manager, who dispatches people to find some carts. But not at the post-apocalypse Target. Managers don't give a crap there. The irony here is that you don't actually need a cart! Why? Because the shelves are not stocked with half the products, and the ones that are there are out of place, or littering the dirty floor, or trashed looking. Fun times!

Complaining about Target is dumb, I know, but I used to looove going there. It's cheap, and it's got decent style, and I don't care that it's awash layers of corporate filth and that I have a false consciousness and that capitalism will eventually kill us all. The damn place allows me to get some retail therapy (coping mechanism option C), and until I have the medical coverage to pay for decent therapy, Target is my effing happy place.

Post-apocalypse Target ruined my much-needed happy place experience. Having a bad day and then going to Target to undo it, even if I don't buy anything, has been the way of my people since at least 1999. It's tradition!

So, I was bummed, got the energy up to go grocery shopping, got mad at the grocery store for not having my foods and also being bad at customer service, then went to Target to ease the pain and was totally denied. Travesty, I know. Going to the good Target in Fairmount Park today made up for it. I looked at the fall clothes, strolled down aisles of lovely home goods, bought organizing office things, and maybe I also came home with Red Vines. Did the good Target experience cause an upswing? Does it truly hold that much magical power over me? Everyone has to have a coping mechanism for bad times. What's yours? You can respond anonymously. I'm interested!

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