Sunday, February 11, 2007

Worse than a 360-degree mirror

So apparently my picture is up at the mall. I knew awhile ago because I got a ton of grief about it at work over the past month. As in, "Hey Kelly, I saw you shopping at the mall today." And when I responded that, no, I wasn't at the mall, whoever was taunting me at the moment would break into a huge grin and say something really impressive like, "YES YOU WERE!"

Because of this, I have been afraid to go anywhere within a 100-mile radius of the mall. I can't even drive past it. Which is a very confusing feeling. Because ever since my pre-pubescent self grasped the concept of retail therapy, I've felt a friendly tug from any mall, drawing me in to see it's wares.

Not anymore. Now it's like we're adversaries. Somewhere within those walls stands a life-size image of myself holding a keyboard with a clear shot of my left armpit.

So when Jerry suggested yesterday that we get his favorite Chinese food, which just happens to be in the mall food court, I nearly crammed an entire throw pillow into his mouth just to keep him from completing the sentence.

"No. Absolutely not."

"C'mon. Aren't you the least bit curious? Everyone tells me it looks great. Just think about it."

"Okay ... mmm ... no."

"We can look at clothes and you can give me ideas for your birthday."

"Girly store clothes?"


"Well ..."

"And I'll buy you a yogurt at TCBY."

"With Reeces?"

"With Reeces."


So, with the promise of endless girly store clothes browsing and a smooth frozen treat, Jerry coerced me to overcome my fear.

At first, it was okay. We used an unpopular entrance and had a direct destination: Jerry's diced chicken and shrimp combo with fried rice from Wong's Wok. It was a straight shot up the escalators and a left turn to the food court. Deep breaths. I can do this.

Then it happened.

"I see you."

"What? WHERE?!"

"Over there, between The Gap and American Eagle."


Then, my typical knee-jerk reaction set in. When I'm in an uncomfortable situation, I laugh. I laugh like a hyena on speed. Which is really unfortunate at funerals.

Jerry dragged me into the line for Chinese so at least I'd be productive while I was trying to breathe again. As we ate, I felt it looming over my shoulder.

"We have to take your picture with it for your mom," Jerry said, in between bites.

"Oh God. No. No, I don't think I can. Seriously."

"Who cares? It'll take two seconds. Do you really need to worry about what any of these people think? ... Especially that crazy lady over there in the stained sweatpants?"

"Yeah, I guess you're right."

So, after we ate and I plowed through my vanilla yogurt with Reeces, we headed toward it. It. With the intention of taking my picture with my picture.

But I couldn't do it. I just grabbed Jerry's arm and forced him to keep walking as my hyena laugh noisily escaped from my throat again.

"I can't do it. I just can't. Lets do a lap and maybe we can get it on the way back."

So we walked. And by the time we came back around, I was ready. I felt emboldened. I could stand next to myself and give a big middle finger to the other mall patrons if need be.

And as I stood there, feeling utterly horrified as Jerry took his sweet-ass time lining up multiple shots, I watched as group after group walked past, turned around, looked at me, looked at the image of me and put two-and-two together. My favorite was a bunch of skater-looking tween boys who said intensely, "Hey, look, that's her," as if they had come to a long-awaited life-changing conclusion. Like "E=mc2!" By God! It's HER! It's HERRRRRR!

Then I couldn't get out of there fast enough. The Gap has never felt like more of a safe haven. Even with all of its hideous, horrendous, horrible, hellish (and any other h-sounding negative adjectives) spring line. It almost made me want to wrap up in its atrocious knee-length faded sweatshirts with poufed short sleeves and somehow figure out a way to jam my hands in the weird front pocket stitched in at crotch level. Instead, I regained my composure in the men's section where Jerry found a winter hat for $2.79. Score.

So, all in all, it was one of the most eventful trips to the mall ever. And I didn't even get anything. Well, other than the yogurt. And that was delicious enough to count.

So, here it is. The photo that almost made me break out into hives.



Mom said...

I LOVE IT, but what do I know. I can't wait to see it for real. I KNOW I can get you to back to the mall with me.

Anonymous said...

You're so gorgeous.

Sarah said...

Wow, you're really beautiful! But I can understand why you were nervous - I'd hate to have a picture of ME at the mall!!

Kristen said...

aww it's so pretty and so are you!

RLA said...

I don't see what's so wrong with it!

Maejen said...

haha it really is life size! cute pic =)

Melinda Hale said...

I have a picture of me in the Student Union at my university... and I feel the same way. I put my head down whenever I have to walk past it!

Pauline said...

Haha... That's great. I completely understand how you feel. I hate pictures of me leaking out when I have no say in them, much less in the middle of a mall. Your beautiful, and the picture is actually really nice.

The no photos of Kelly in my mall Plainsman said...

Absolutely GREAT! And we know, that deep inside, you love it as much as Jerry, your Mom and the rest of us! Print out some of the photos and save them for years from now. (These digital images are not nearly permanent enough, except when you wish they'd vanish!)

Anonymous said...

kelly. you're beautiful. your heart for seeing joy in the world, and in your everyday life is beautiful. the way you share your gift of writing with so many, is beautiful. and your willingness to embrace the fact that you do not always have "it" all together, is so beautiful.

keep writing.

Randall said...

Oh my goodness, the way you wrote about it I thought it was forty feet long suspended from the ceiling! You (and you) look great!

chelsea said...

omg it looks great, and your so pretty! but i get how its awkward for you, look at it this way, now people can recognize you and tell you how great of a writer you are, since they've seen you!

Anonymous said...

YOU LOOK SOOOOOO GOOOODDDDDDD-both in poster and real...:-)

Erin said...

Kelly, I think it's awesome. And I didn't notice your armpit at all.

caitlin said...

Beautiful :)

But I do find it ironic that you were nervous about being seen with the picture in the mall, but you're perfectly willing to put the picture up on the internet for the entire WORLD to gawk at (in awe of your beauty, of course).

jsi said...

And you both look terrif

Melissa said...

It looks GREAT!!!!!!

Kristin said...

You look great!

Ray said...

Ha, if I were you I would have done the same thing. Made every excuse just so I wouldn't take the picture. But it looks good, and think of if this way your a mini-celebrity. But anyway's I also laugh when I'm nervous and I hate it with a passion. But oh well we can't all be perfect.

Take care, Kelly. ;o)