Dec 18, 2012 10:05 PM GMT
Wrote this today while thinking about my shopping experience on Saturday. Have you had similar experiences where you just needed to have something and went out of your way to get it? Enjoy!
"I Bought a Lava Lamp" by Victor
For some odd reason I felt I just had to have one. I had seen them at Walmart a few times, but the colors didn't quite match my decor. Who really wants a fuchsia lamp with purple water and yellow wax? I'm not a teenager. What I really wanted was orange lava with a black base. Something to give off that soothing amber glow and allow my mind to meander in the late night before bedtime. Pretty basic.
Well, I searched all over: Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, then drove from store to store. Walmart, Target, K-mart, Bed, Bath and Beyond, all of them carried the same line of oddly-colored lamps. Of course, I saved Spencer's Gifts, the bearer of all things retro, for last.
And there it was.
Smack dab in the middle of ten other lamps, all fully heated up and bobbing gobs of lava, was exactly the lamp I had in mind. The price of all lamps, from the shorter 14" to the larger 16.3" lamp was $19.99. All on clearance. Did I want to spend that much money? Probably.
I searched through all of the cylindrical boxes used to house the lamps below the display, nearly two dozen of them, turning them around to see what style lamp was inside. Green goop and black base. No. Yellow goop and silver base. No. Black goop in clear water (The Dark Knight model). No. There were no new orange goop with black base models left.
So I asked the store manager if I could have the floor model. She said "yes," and I'd get a 20% discount, making it a $16 purchase. Boy was I happy. The only problem was I needed to wait for the lamp to cool down before taking it home. What I learned from reading online in my search is that you never want to move a heated-up lava lamp. Not only because it's hot and can burn you, but because it can cause it to permanently cloud if the uncooled goop mixes with the liquid.
Do you know how long it takes a lava lamp to cool? Try about 1.5 hours. That's how long I waited in the mall, walking aimlessly from store to store to pass time. I even sampled crackers and dip at the Hickory Farms display. I can't tell you how many 2013 calendars I looked at: dogs, cats, dogs, cats, teenage idols, and Painter of Light Kinkade's. At one point I was about to duck into Radio Shack when I saw an old roommate I had two years ago looking at the cell phone accessories. He was the one I had to put a sheriff's notice on his bedroom door to make sure he left for not paying rent. I quickly turned my head and shuffled down the corridor to Target.
All this time I tried to talk myself out of the purchase. What is wrong with you? Get over it. You could walk away right now and no harm is done. Surely if you don't come back they will just power the light back on so it can entertain the whims of the next '70s-longing customer. But $16, discounted, and all that time to find the one I wanted. Plus I had a coupon in my car for 10 Free Wings at a local steakhouse given to me by a friend who had won a year's supply of them. So dinner was covered. Just buy it. DO it. DO IT! I obeyed my inner voice, which said in the end, "Just get it and be happy."
Finally, the lamp cooled enough for me to be fairly confident it would not mix if I moved it, though I was still unsure. The woman packed it up, rang me out, and there I went on my merry way...dodging hoards of kids running to get in line to sit on Santa's lap while I balanced a warm, glass vessel full of god knows what inside. Then I reached the parking lot and couldn't find my car.
So there I was, walking hopelessly up and down the mega lot in front of a mega Walmart attached to a mega mall. I was almost certain I had parked in the aisle inline with the letters WAL, but that didn't seem to be the case. I tried to calculate just how much the inside of the lamp would be moving around based on my stride. Was it swishing around like water going down a toilet, or was I keeping it steady? What would it look like once I got home? Why did I buy this anyway?
Ten minutes later I spotted my car three aisles over from where I thought it should be, and drove to pick up my wings. Once home, I waited for the lamp to reach room temperature, made adjustments to a book shelf so it would fit, and powered it up. Two hours later (it takes that long for it to go to town with the gobs), I sat in my living room and enjoyed the view. It was everything I thought it would be. Like a God, the Lava God, emanating and talking to me in ways that mere silence can not.
My name is Victor, I'm 49, and I bought a lava lamp.