Look, I’m just as shocked as you, okay? But it was for a worthy cause. Lemme ‘splain.
For those who may not know, I have a Gothdaughter. (As in, I’m her Gothmother. “Godmother” is so…STOP LAUGHING.) Gothdaughter is awesome. (Of course she is…I’m her Gothmother!) She has been wanting to go to Build A Bear for a long time, and He Who Enables My Crazy and I have been wanting to take her as our treat for various milestones she’s passed throughout the year. The nearest one to us is about two hours away, so it’s been a trick getting all our schedules to align. This week we all managed to have time to go, so it was planned, and yesterday was the day.
I knew the Build A Bear Workshop was in a mall. I was prepared for that.
I was not prepared for the horror that awaited me.
The place was huge. I…words fail me. It was a sea of the mundane. An ocean of normality. A CREVASSE OF THE COMMON.
This place was so prosaic. So regular. So typical. HOW DO PEOPLE DO THIS? I passed store after store of high-priced bullshit that all looked the same to me. Places I wouldn’t set foot in if you PAID ME, let alone gave me money to actually buy something in them.
Rarely am I ever faced with just how outside mainstream I really am. This place brought it home with a vengeance. The longer I was in the place, the more aware I became that this isn’t somewhere I should be. Ever.
As we walked through the mall to the Build A Bear, I pointed out Hot Topic to my Gothdaughter.
Me: “You see that place?”
GD: “Uh huh.”
Me: “Never go in there. Ever. It’s owned by Disney and is Goth for poseurs, like Twilight. Okay?”
GD: *big eyes and firm nod* “Okay. I won’t.”
Me: “Good. If I ever catch you being a poseur, we’re going to have words.”
GD: “You won’t!”
That’s my girl.
We got to the Build A Bear and the mundane normalcy of the place outside was forgotten as Gothdaughter’s eyes got bigger and bigger as she realized she was going to be able to BUILD HER OWN BEAR. I don’t think she realized until we actually got there that she was going to be able to MAKE HER OWN BEAR, but once she did, she was off. It took awhile, but I didn’t mind a bit. Things like this can’t be rushed, you know, and she was having so, so much fun! She chose her toy, recorded a voice for it, had it stuffed (complete with fabric heart to go inside it), gave it a “bath” (with air and brushes!), then picked out clothes and shoes and all kinds of accessories for her new best friend.
The Gothdaughter and her new bear. Er…dog. And accompanying loot. Photo by Gothdaughter’s Dad. Used with permission.
Close up of Gothdaughter, new best friend, and accessories. Because you have to have accessories!
She gave it a name and got a “birth certificate” for it, and repeated the Bear Promise. Then it was packed in its carrying box/home and we were finished.
We had planned to have lunch there before the long drive home, so we headed through the mall to the food court. Again, as we passed store after store (this place was HUGE and we only went through half of it in the shortest routes possible) of the same thing over and over, all designed for the average consumer (which, in case you haven’t realized by now, would NOT be me), I grew anxious and uncomfortable. Not from the people or anything. I’m not agoraphobic, claustrophobic, or any other “phobic” – I wasn’t afraid of anything. I just absolutely despise the mundane. The bright lights designed to make things look shiny when they’re actually just cheap plastic crap. The lie of it all. I don’t like being lied to, and this place was nothing but a temple of lies and sweatshops and evil assholes like Abercrombie & Fitch. And people BELIEVE the lies! I just….
Then something happened.
I had pretty much gotten used to random shills out hawking their wares in kiosks and storefronts, and almost said “No, thank you,” and kept on walking past the voice that asked me, “Would you like to sample…?” until I heard “…our tea today?”
I stopped dead and looked at the woman. My eyes went to the sign above the door of her dimly lit shop. Keep in mind that the smell of this place was of overpriced candles, floor wax, and the omnipresent Cinnabon. All shopping malls smell the same. It’s a faux-shiny plastic-y smell full of recirculated air and stress-induced sweat. It’s cloying to me. I despise it. With all that, of course the smell of her shop was overshadowed.
My eyes widened. I stared at the sign. There was a store…in the mall…for me? I glanced at my husband. He grinned, knowing how uncomfortable I was in this house of mundane horrors. I looked at the woman and said, “Not right now, but I’ll be back in a bit.” She smiled and nodded. I turned to my companions and said, “Before we leave, I’m coming back here.”
Then we went to the food court. We navigated our way through and all got different things. It was the first time in a very long time I’ve had fast food, and surprisingly, I enjoyed it. When we finished, we found bathrooms and were all ready to leave…but not before we hit the tea shop on the way out.
I returned to Teavana. I had only ever heard of this place. It had been mentioned to me by various people who know of my complete and utter love for tea, and I think I knew there was a Teavana in this particular mall, but had forgotten it. Now, however, I know where it is, and the nice sales girl there said I can order from them via phone any time I want and they will ship free for orders over $50.00, which is good, because not even Teavana can entice me back there. Yes, I hate malls that much. If there were a yarn store next to it, we might be able to negotiate. Of course, I will return for Build A Bear if Gothdaughter desires another for whatever occasion. For her, I will endure the torment. Because she is mine. (Sort of.)
But I digress.
Now, most who read my blog know I’ve been saving every spare penny I have this year For Scotland (Gothdaughter’s Bear did not count as it was already in the budget, and surprisingly we didn’t go over it, even with all the accessories!). Tea is not a sacrifice I was willing to make in the budgeting For Scotland, but I’m still very conscious that every penny I spend here on things is a penny I don’t have for spending on Scottish things, so I restrained myself mightily and did not buy the entire inventory. I did, however, come home with two beautiful new tea infuser mugs that I am in complete love with. Alas, they did not have them in black.
They don’t come in black. Le sigh.
After my sampling and petting of gorgeous things, most of the trauma of the mall had left me. I was ready to make a break for the car. We did and left for home, Gothdaughter hugging her new best friend and grinning madly.
It was worth enduring hours of pink and sparkly retail hell for the look on her face. Well, that, and learning Teavana has a Tea of the Month Club.
I know what I’m asking Lord Vader for at Sithmas this year!
Subtitle: A tutorial for tea junkies. With linkage!
Now, I was going to attempt to be clever and title this blog post something like “Summertime Blues” or “In Which I Instruct You On How To Make Iced Tea,” but I’m not feeling particularly clever at the moment, so you get a bare bones instructional post. Continue reading →