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For Every Park, a Snark

(For those in the Boston area, come by and see me -- if you dare! -- during ImprovBoston's SketchHaus, Saturday nights in January. I'll be performing with the high-larious sketch group The Ruckus; shows are just ten bucks and start at 10:30pm. Come see. There's beer. Good times.

While I'm at it, the latest Zolton Does Amazon piece is up over at Stop on over to Kiss Your Career Hello, If you're into that sort of thing.)

I've just finished my first week of work at a new office, and things are going generally peachily. In fact, if there's any teensy, weensy, tiny little horrific nightmare involved in the deal, it has to do with one of the perks the new company provides.


The office building is -- like ninety-nine percent of everything else of any value, utility or interest in the Boston area -- in a neighborhood where parking comes at a premium. Minimal street spots, exorbitant garage fees, and parking cops who'll ticket your chrome-bumpered ass fourteen seconds after the meter expires. It's brutal.

But wait! New company will subsidize parking in a nearby lot. A perk available to all employees, including me. So to avoid tickets, boots, tows and the inevitable impound lot breakout adventure, I signed up for a parking pass. And got one. And since Tuesday, I've been nestling my car snugly in a lot, as planned. There's just one thing I didn't know:

It's a parking lot for a shopping mall.

Now, for some people that would be a godsend. Roll into the lot at eight, shop on the way to work, shop at lunch, work some more, shop shop shop, work work work, call it a day and head to the car. While shopping. I know people who'd consider that heaven.

"I hate shopping. I avoid malls like most people avoid playing Twister with a bunch of lepers."

None of those people are me. I hate shopping. I avoid malls like most people avoid playing Twister with a bunch of lepers. Until this week, that is. Because now, every day is Mall Day. Not only do I park there, but the only way out of the garage is through the mall. And the shoppers. And the kiosks. And?

The horror.

So far, every trip to and from work has brought back screaming willy flashbacks of trying on clothes, waiting in lines and haggling over return receipts. Some people see those as just the cost of shopping for things. I decided a long time ago that frankly, I just dont like things that much. If I have to not own things to avoid shopping for things, then so be it. I'm guessing this is how most monasteries get started. Think about it.

The disgusting irony of it is, I just finished getting out of going to a mall. I usually only see the inside of one in late December, when Christmas looms and I've neglected to buy the requisite baubles and trinkets online. My wife usually gets a mall-bought gift or two, as does my family. The mall for me is a place for panic, guilt and deep remorse -- and I somehow miraculously managed to miss it this year. I planned ahead, ordered some gifts on the internet -- and the missus and I made a pact not to trade anything big. And I navigated the holiday Scylla and Charybdes without experiencing the interior of an Old Navy or Toddler Gap. I was quite proud of myself.

And now I'm practically living in a mall. Partly because I have to park there, but mostly because I haven't yet figured out how the hell to get in and out of the stupid place through the same door twice in a row. On Wednesday, I played Marco Polo for a while before someone showed me the exit. Yesterday, I set my car alarm off from halfway across the garage, to get a vague notion of which direction to wander. And today, I spent half the day trying to navigate my way out.

(I'm serious here. I left the house at a quarter past eight. It's a twenty minute drive. I finally got to my desk at half past lunchtime. It was nightmarish; if not for the Cinnabon on level three, I could've collapsed and keeled over in that godforsaken place.

And who'd save me then, eh? Abercrombie? Fitch? Jesus Christ Penney? Honky, please.)

Anyway, other than that, things are pretty good. If I could just beg, blubber or breadcrumb my way out of that hellhole mall a little quicker, I'd be just peachy.

In the meantime, if there's anything you need from Victoria's Secret, let me know. I'll be there on Monday. And Tuesday. And possibly forever. Yaaa-aaaa-aaaaay.

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