I was told that today was my lucky day.

Without question, said the plucky clerk, would I obtain what I desired if I only showed up early enough.

Thought I: Sounds like a reasonable proposition – sacrifice sleep for goodies!

Therefore: I found myself on the bus on the way to Atwater’s FutureShop at the ungodly hour of 7:15 am to actually participate for once in the mass hysteria that is known as xmas shopping, on the renowned absolute worst day of the entire year to do it.

I should have known something was up when the very first step I took outside my home ended up splashing the melting slush all over my right shoe.  As the street water and grime slowly worked their way into my sock, soaking me for hours to come, I should have recognized a bad omen for what it was, and not just a stupid mistake attributable to my drunken sleep-deprived state.

So on the bus then (omens aside).  The nice thing about taking public transport in the wee hours of the morning is that there are no silly little cars to get in the way of bus drivers’ dreams of one day being F1 racers.  I swear, we could have take out a little old woman (who seem to populate the streets in unsettling numbers at that time of the day) and barely even felt the crunch of her walker.  I arrived at my destination in a record-breaking 6 minutes, white with fear and standing, since I didn’t have much time to even contemplate sitting down.

I stake out the store, and there doesn’t seem to be a line formed at the main entrance.  Strange, thought I.  For wherefore art thou bloodthirsty, teeth-gnashing holiday revelers?  My mistake – the line forms on the second floor.  Although arriving merely at 7:30 (opening at 8 ), there is a family group at the front, clustered around something that I cannot see.  I hear sounds coming from the middle of their half-circle.  Could it be that they’re pumping themselves up for the carnage that will soon unfold?  Is it some ritualistic chant that somehow grants them unparalleled product-gripping hand strength?  My curiosity overpowers me.  I get behind them in line, and witness the horrible truth.

They’re watching a movie on a portable DVD player.  Sneering, I take my place in line behind the "second" customer, a really hawt girl sitting on a provided chair showing off her tattoo to anyone lucky enough to sit behind her.  This really was my lucky day!  A 360 soon to be in my hands, and this in the meantime!

We hear some clanking noises near the gate.  Our heads turn.  The little kid in the family unit (still wearing flannel pyjama pants) jumps up excitedly at the emergence of a number of uniformed store clerks approaching the front of the line.  It’s not even 7:40 yet, I think, what’s up?

It turns out that FS employees regularly let in the first people in line (personally accompanied by a store clerk) go choose whatever the hell they got up at this ungodly hour for.  I felt like I was on a blind date!  Who would I get paired up with?  Would we be compatible?  Would we like the same sort of things?

I meet my match.  Nervous and shy, I mumble ‘salut’ and follow him into the store.  Everyone seems to be going for the xbox rack.  I overhear the hawttie telling her clerk "partner" that she’s been here since 5 am.  FIVE!  Now that’s dedication.  I can see the xbox aisle approaching.  The clerk stops.  I stop.  Something’s wrong.  I can see it in his face.  He drops the bombshell.

"Oh yeah, we only have core systems, you know that – right?"


As any knowledgeable gamer knows, the only box to get is the premium systems, because it comes with a hard drive and all sorts of wonderful features that the core doesn’t include, but more importantly the premium edition allows you to play the games you owned for the previous xbox on the new one.  Without it, you’re restricted to only new games, and on top of that, no game saving unless you buy a memory card.

Clearly. Inadequate.

My partner seems to read into my disappointment.  If it weren’t for the fact that I was crushed right now, I could certainly see the beginning of a wonderful relationship forming.  I ask him what I should do.  And then – joy – a glimmer of hope!

"You can give me a call – I can tell you when they’ll arrive, and you can show up early and grab one when they do!"

It’s not much, but at least I’m not coming away empty-handed!  And then – score! – he gives me his extension number!  Hot damn!  I picked up a clerk!

We head towards the exit.  Shyly I ask him when he would think a good time to call would be.  I don’t want to rush things, you know?  That might scare him off.

"I’m on vacation in the first week of January, but you can give me a call the week after that!"

Annoyed, but satisfied for now, I head out back into the slush.  One 4-minute rocket bus ride with my body plastered to the back of the bus later, I find myself back at home, with hope in hand in the form of a hastily scribbled note.  My day will come.

Now, I’m fucking going back to sleep.