Monday, October 30, 2006

Thoughts on Commerce and Satan's Member

Yesterday, I had nothing to do. No work, no babysitting, no articles, no solid plans. This was good since I woke up with a pounding headache due to the parties the night before, and I managed to sit on my couch for a couple hours until I got bored with the same six stories airing repeatedly on the morning news and roused myself to go to the gym. I went to the gym on Newbury Street, which isn't my usual branch and it was so bizarre. I couldn't figure out how to change the channel on the TV, so I ended up watching MSNBC, which was airing the same stories over and over. I had to ask where the locker room was. I was glad to get out of there.

I went home and opened my windows to air out the apartment, which didn't take too long since the wind blew through the blinds, rattling them like a snake. I washed the floor, wiped down the sinks, did the dishes. After a shower, I decided to run some errands. I wanted to get a catalog from another store I get a discount from thanks to the part-time job so I can start thinking about Christmas presents, which is fucking sick-- Halloween hasn't even happened yet, and I'm thinking about Christmas. And-- even more disturbing-- I'm excited about it. I sniffed holiday scented candles yesterday and I nearly got teary thinking about how happy I was it was almost Christmas. I started thinking about getting a little baby tree at Trader Joe's and decorating it. I thought about a wreath to make my little apartment smell good. I thought about novelty lights, baking cookies, going home to see the family and eating until I throw up. Then I realized that I am quite the little consumer and am easily manipulated to confuse the sense of family togetherness with buying shit.

I walked through the mall, then back over to Newbury Street. The Virgin Megastore is closing this Saturday, so I decided to peruse what was left for any amazing deals. Right by the front door, I snagged a copy of David Sedaris' Holidays On Ice for the low price of $4.50.

It was sad in there. Because I'm a good little consumer, I associate closing stores with a chapter of my life ending. But it's exciting too since you can always find a good deal. I remembered how cool it was when Virgin Megastore opened, with the DJ booth and the panel of plaster that celebrities signed when they visited Boston. I remember going there on a semi-date with a guy at Emerson who bought a stack of ska CDs on sale. I have been in Boston so long that things have come and gone in my time here. I am now an old woman.

I grabbed a copy of the Arctic Monkeys' CD for 50% off, which was a good deal. There were piles of shirts and bags for $4.99. Some less popular Family Guy plastic figures. Endless copies of the Who's new album. The racks downstairs were a hodgepodge of CDs, and not all of them had the labels along the top edge of the CD, so you had to flip through to see if anything good had escaped the masses.

I didn't really bother with the DVDs-- I have Netflix, and I'm not the kind of person who generally watches a movie over and over again. I did have to laugh, though-- a large group of men were gathered around the clearance "erotica" section (read: porn). Seriously. About fifteen guys perusing the barechested women. I'm surprised they weren't scooping up armfuls of 50% off porn.

I went to the second floor, where the racks were slightly more organized. Somehow, I found a copy of Bill Hicks' Arizona Bay, which I snapped up in a flash. I was still thinking of Bill Hicks as I saw a pattern emerging in which CDs were left. In the '90s, Bill Hicks did a bit about New Kids On The Block being the "suckers of Satan's cock." The artists that were well-represented in the picked-over CD racks were mostly in the "suckers of Satan's cock" category. Lindsay Lohan's freshman and sophomore efforts were still well-represented. Paris Hilton's album was everywhere. (I do take the lackluster sales of Paris Hilton's CD as a sign that the apocalypse may be held up someplace.) American Idols Season Five "Encores." Taylor Hicks' single. Fantasia Barrino's CD. Diana DeGarmo's CD. Simpsons Jessica and Ashlee were in there (though many more of Jessica's CDs were left than Ashlee's). Some Ruben Studdard. George Huff's gospel album (which I almost bought just for the album being named "Miracles" and Huff wears a Sox hat while beaming on the cover). I bought my book and the two CDs and got the hell out.

I'd recommend hitting Virgin before it closes, if only to view the physical space for one last time. If you've got some patience, you may stumble upon some good deals. And if you're in the market for some porn, get there before all those dudes clean out the good stuff, and you're left with what Bill Hicks called "hairy bobbing man-ass" porn.

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