“Get your coats on kids! We’re going to Home Goods!”
I say this to my two youngest children with as much unbridled enthusiasm as possible, because I really want to go to Home Goods. We’re going to peel through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive thru for munchkins, and then I am going to coast into Home Goods on a coffee high and shop the shit out of the storage section. I am ready to change my life.
Bins. Bins. Hooks and shelves and bins. And baskets. Lots of freaking baskets. I want it all. When we bust out the double doors, our cart full of plastic and engineered wood and rattan – give me all the f’ing rattan you have – I know that our lives will never be the same. I just feel it way down deep in that twisted place in my heart, the part of me that truly understands that the perfect hook rail will make be a better person. In fact, I will be a better mother for spending $200 on things to put all my shit in and hang it on.
And so when the automatic doors slide open, and I look out into the sea of colored glass and throw pillows, mass produced art, and things – all sorts of wonderful things – to put on my shelves, a wave of optimism washes over me. A fake seashell display calls my name. My son points to a giant wooden buddha up ahead and laughs. And I know we’ve already won. But up ahead in the distance, my mecca, the storage aisle, beckons. It is there I will find my salvation.
I take out my list, eager to check off all of the items that will transform my home from the frumpy mess it is to the exalted shrine of order it was meant to be. I scour each shelf with a sense of excitement. I can’t wait to buy buy buy. Buy more things to put my other things in. I touch each organizational item with a sense of wonder. The anticipation builds. The possibilities are endless!
It doesn’t matter that I was here in this very place two days ago. It feels like an eternity. I see things I didn’t see before. Laundry baskets with French words stenciled on them. L’Hotel Des Grandes Laundry. (Oh. My. GOD. I’ll feel so f’ing European when I am washing shit stains out of my kids’ underwear!) Wire baskets with mini chalkboards, so I can write down what’s inside. So I’ll know what’s inside! The people that think of these things just know. They. just. know. It’s like they can see into my soul.
I’m loading everything into my cart. My baby is covered in a heap of canvas life force. I’m barking at my 4-year-old to grab anything and everything with mail dividers. The power of clean compels you!
On the way to the cashier, sweaty, breathless, I begin to take a second look at my bounty. Passing by a wall of inspirational word art, the objects in my cart begin to shape shift before my eyes. The canvas seems senseless. A stack of mini acrylic boxes seems radical. No. That won’t quite work. $29.99? That’s outrageous. Rubbed bronze? What was I thinking?
And all the promise with which we entered that big box of retail hope is fading. I see that I haven’t checked off a single thing on my list. No organized canned goods. No row of neatly hung princess dresses. No visually stimulating laundry center. Two and a half hours from the moment those double doors opened and my kids and I walked brazen into those florescent lights, I walk to the cashier and hang my head in shame. But not before my eyes desperately scan the shelves lining the check out line for an item that might redeem this trip. A journal with a floral cover, perhaps? NO! A scented candle? I bought three last week. A set of crystal drawer pulls? There must be something, SOMETHING I can do with those! A cheese knife in the shape of a mermaid? No! No! No! As I near the head of the line, I turn and look at the shelves, hoping my eyes will catch something I’ve missed. But there’s nothing.
“I remember you from the other day,” the cashier says.
I don’t ask her, out of all the (mostly) women that come to Home Goods searching for order, why she remembers me.
Instead I smile, and silently hand her my purchases:
Until next time, Home Goods. Until next week.