The emotional salve of a return to Target

This gross and gray Chicago weather has had me in a F-U-N-K the past few weeks. Then Monday, work was weird. Not bad, but not good, and I came home needing a comforting something. More than just a hug and “What Would Beyonce Do?” pat on the bottom.

So instead, Justin offered Target.

Well, he needed an ink cartridge and he was heading to Target and, “Hey would you like to come with me so we can hang out?”


“Whoa, OK. I guess I shoulda known. You haven’t bought any new mugs in the past few months and I haven’t come home to cute but impractical $1 bunting lately.”

“Don’t get it twisted. I make my own decorative bunting like any self-respecting girl from the country who no longer has time to sew real things but needs to feel like she’s not part of humanity’s free-for-all into robot domination, a sad and destructive future state of affairs in which humans have, in their foggy technological distraction, lost all earned survival knowledge and now must wrestle the planet back from the robots’ cold, undead hands.”

“OK. Also we need milk.”

Does Target have milk?

Ha! Um, do the Koch brothers have pointy ended tails?

Target has everything.

Literally everything.

It was a fact I forgot until we’d parked and my mind started to salivate as I stared up at the big beige building, a buzzy neon sign glowing red and white like a Christmas tree star on stucco.

Pavlov’s dogs had their bell. I have my bull’s-eye.

So much for hanging out together. As soon as I got in the door, smelled the stale popcorn, heard A Very Taylor Swift Christmas, Mothafuckas overhead, landed my eyes on a whole rack devoted to brightly colored shaggy faux fur vests, I was gone.

“Bye. Find me later.”

“Why don’t you just come with me? I don’t have to get much?”

“Dear god, Justin! They have dresses printed with elves! How much does it cost to live here?”

“OK. I’m out. Meet at that Aquafina and Children’s Tears vending machine in 10.”

It’s not that I wanted to buy all these things. I just forgot. Forgot that a place like Target exists. Living without a car in Chicago has forced me to be more selective about trips to places where I usually go to buy a lot of nonsense stuff.

Like velvet covered dream journals.

I don’t want to carry a lamp home on the bus and I don’t want to pay for a rideshare to take home a lamp so I don’t have to ride the bus and Justin’s working so I can’t get a ride from him and so I guess I don’t really want a lamp–or I can just buy it online and have USPS do the heavy lift.

Those big box stores are less available to me now. At first, I was giddy with this one’s brightness, its welcoming obliviousness to the outside world and all its accompanying annoyingness. Target brought me some much needed distraction, that perfectly feng-shuied-for-sales perspective that there’s a lot more out there than my tiny world so no need to feel down!  

I couldn’t be a Grinch.

Target came correct with packages, boxes and bags!

Yellow Kitchen-Aid mixers, mugs with sweaters, and a whole section of rags!

A wall of chokers!

Glitter glue in every hue!

A liquor section!

A wine room!

Screwdrivers and baseball bats of every size!

A 10-ounce jar of our favorite peanut butter that our neighborhood grocery store frequently runs out of!

We bought that peanut butter!

Plus an ink cartridge that was made of recycled material because we’d never seen that during our online shopping!

Plus a big bag of chocolate chips!

My first trip around the Target was like one around the sun. Just beautiful. Mesmerizing. So into it. Look but don’t touch.

By round three I was ready to leave. It’d done it’s job. Target had made me feel better, reminded me of home, made my brain go numb, let me worry about nothing but the color of the lipgloss I would want, and dream of a fancy party to which I would wear it and befriend the well-heeled-but-hiding-so-many-secrets hostess in the lady’s room.

All by way of a fluorescent lit hug and photos of an ornery brand dog dangling from the ceiling. Yo quiero Target, amIrite?

But then it was too much, too muchtoomuch. If I buy one brass elephant paper clip/ hair tie holder for my desk, I buy them all. And trust, there are 10 more types of manufactured desk personality pieces to buy waiting patiently on that shelf behind the first one.

When we came home, I ate so many chocolate chips that I got a stomach ache.

But I went to bed smiling.

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