It turns out that people are no longer doing their Christmas shopping at brick and mortar stores -- or, as we used to call them, stores. According to the financial news, we're all shopping online now.
So, like apparently everyone else, I spent Black Friday in my pajamas on the sofa, browsing online while watching news reports of traffic jams, fistfights and long lines at the mall. They were fighting over the new 60" LED TV that I bought online last week because I thought that's how we all shopped now. Online.
Online shopping has a lot going for it: No waiting in line, no cashiers "in training," no driving around and around trying to find the closest spot to the entrance, no finding out that the stuff in my size is sold out, no people behind me saying things like, "You picked the busiest day of the year to exchange underwear?" like they did last time. (Excuuuuuse me, but the XXXLs were much too tight. I plan to have children one day; I have to be extra careful.)
"Those poor, poor people," I thought, watching the unfolding chaos on television. "That's what it must feel like to have low bandwidth. Why would you shop in person if you didn't have to?"
What puzzled me was that while the TV cameras clearly showed near-riots, stores packed with shoppers and overflowing parking lots, what the reporters were saying was completely different. They kept repeating that no one was actually in those stores, that we were all shopping online. It's like the moon landing: I watched it happen on my TV, but a third of my Facebook friends insist that it never happened.
From my cozy spot in the basement, I Googled the weather and discovered that it snowed overnight and that temperatures are unseasonably cold. With the wind chill, it feels like it's 19 degrees outside. Maybe I should look at winter coats online.
Just kidding. What kind of crazy person would go out in weather like this? I haven't left the basement in six years and I'm sure not going to start now. What do I need a coat for? I've got everything I need right here. I suppose I should go out and start the car one of these days, because I just read on Wikipedia that it's not good for it to sit in one place for too long. But I can't do it today. I'm too busy posting my political thoughts to all my Facebook friends. I used to have hundreds of Facebook friends, but for some reason, now I only have three. And one of them's Mom.
She keeps posting that she's worried about me. Worried about what? It's not like I'm going to get hit by a car or get frostbitten, like those people who go shopping in person. Still, she says I should get off the computer and go outside, go get some real friends, go play some real games. Like trying to save the world from people like my ex-friend Bob, who misspells "tyrant" and "dictator," is not a worthwhile purpose in life.
"It's not natural to live in your parents' basement and never leave," Mom says. "You need to feel some sun on your face, the breeze through your hair. Aren't you afraid that you'll die alone and friendless?"
I told her the only thing I'm afraid of is identity theft.
"Who on Earth would want your identity?" she said. "Who would want to be you?" She just doesn't understand the internet. I've tried to explain it to her and she just says, "You're hurting my head. I've had more fun comparing Medicare supplement plans."
There's just no helping some people. I should unfriend her, but I can't afford to lose one-third of my friends. I know: On Christmas, I'll tell her the internet was out of presents. That'll teach her.