Wednesday, November 12, 2008


It did occur to me later that I'd marked Veterans Day with a post about boogers. Sorry. I also marked the occasion with a day-trip to Target, probably equally as sacrilegious. Veterans Day is one of those 'fake holidays'. Like Columbus Day it's a holiday we'd all like to celebrate, but only those working for banks, the post office, and as it happens, pre-schools get to. Anna's school was shut, so I took the day off work. We celebrated with a trip down south to Tarjay where our m.o. was to buy baby stuff. Lots of it. In pink.

As an aside - you would think I would be armed to the teeth with baby girl stuff, but no, I am sadly lacking in some areas, notably receiving blankets (I gave in to the lure of turning them into excellent dusters about a year ago) and baby bottles that are now 'BPA free'. Whatever the chuff that means. Personally, I'd be happy to give creature #2 the same tainted bottles her older sister had, were it not for the threat of the Mom-police and their concern with improper parenting.

Back to the story; Santa Barbara is an anomaly amongst American towns (in lots of ways) but notably, it has no Target and no Walmart either. Heaven on earth for a lot of people. People who aren't strapped for cash, or parents. You have to head south to save money if you're from SB. Now it's been quite a while since I went to Target, and I think last time somebody else must have driven, because while I started out fairly confident I knew where it was, I found my certainty dwindling as the freeway exits started zipping by. Geography graduate I may be, but I was also soon completely and utterly lost in the nether regions of Oxnard (and as a 'nard' in SoCal vernacular is a testicle, you can imagine how much I didn't want to be lurking in it's hinterland). What kind of over-educated muppet can get lost in Oxnard? It's pretty simple really - on your right hand side is the Pacific Ocean (pretty easy to spot), on the left are some pretty sizeable mountains (again, doesn't take a rocket scientist...) and in the middle is the 101 freeway, with roads arranged in a grid pattern on either side. Not too tricky.

Well, after inadvertantly getting off at the wrong exit followed by 20 minutes of randomly 'picking the most sizeable looking road' (which always seemed to dwindle to a track just 400 yards past my line of sight) I was ready to throw in the towel and call LK. Anna was being particularly helpful in the back. My problem, you see, was that 'you haf gone the wrong way and we are lost. You problee shouldn't haf gone the wrong way, you should haf gone the right way'.


Meanwhile in the Oxnard Historical District (ha - I bet you didn't know it existed did you? - well neither did I until this morning), I was growing a tad impatient. The problem was, the geographer in me kept telling me to head towards the mountains and I would hit the freeway. The scared-ass white girl kept saying, drive on the bigger roads so you don't end up getting shot. I was looking for signs of mainstream American civilization. Common sense states that the larger the chain, the more likely you are to be near a freeway. I was looking for 'Starbucks' for 'TJ Maxx' for 'Applebees' instead I kept hitting on 'Bills Bait Shop' and 'Magic Nails'. There seemed to be miles and miles of suburban nothing. Housing tract followed housing tract, strip-mall followed strip-mall. When I finally stumbled on Walmart I almost burst in to tears. The trouble is, even if you can see the freeway, negotiating 6 lanes of traffic, multiple right-turn only lanes and a know-it-all preschooler in the back means you still haven't a hope of actually getting where you want to go. Three times round the Oxnard Auto Center and I was finally back on the 101.

I did eventually make it to Target - their slashed prices only slightly compensating for the full tank of gas it had taken me to get there.

I will be shopping online in future.


itsgrimupnorth said...

Ha, you see this is where men are far superior. A man would never get lost going to a discount shopping centre on their day off with Anna, a man would be far too busy doing fun stuff!

Expat mum said...

Oh god, I hate that situation. Next time - Mapquest?

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