One of the highlights of my grandmother’s West Coast tour of the United States was going outlet shopping while visiting me in Las Vegas. For her, this was a real sport – combining physical fitness of fighting hordes of equally deranged shoppers, as well as mental acumen of how to purchase items for the greatest fraction of the retail price. For the rest of us – “entourage” is the more appropriate term, really – that meant holding her coat and babysitting her handbag while she combed through the entire outlet complex store by store, and watching her decide as to whether or not to she really needed another cashmere anything or leather jacket. There are several reasons why her grandchildren have endearingly fashioned her the moniker “Madonna” as a nickname, and shopping with her is one of them.
After what must have been a lifetime, it appeared we were finally ready to vacate our highly sought-after parking spot in the outlet garage. It was clear that everyone was worn out because the topic of conversation in the car somehow turned to the weather. If my grandmother no longer has the energy to harp about the purchases she made that day, or lament about an item she wished she had bought but didn’t, I usually like to think I did a job well done and thank the Lord I lived to see another day.
My aunt: So about living here in Las Vegas. You guys don’t have…tornadoes…do you?
I was mistaken when I thought that my grandmother had been knocked unconscious from the exhaustion of going to battle with the deluded masses while shopping, because she suddenly scoffed exasperatedly,
“Ugh, no. They have volcanoes! Hello!”