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Monday, Mar. 11, 2002
I actually had the nerve to think that this weekend would be one of those calm, soothing passages in which I would lay prone on my bulbous posterior and watch the scenery drift by.

I did the best I could. Really, I did.

Saturday morning at the all-encompassing 24 hour Super Wal-Mart is hardly the way to open up a jar of relaxation. I often drive by this place and note with some satisfaction that the stampeding horde and I rarely need to cross paths. The parking lot alone generally suggests that the Super Bowl is being played inside. And the shopping logic of your average male would deduce that the best time to go is early, early when the matriarchs are still scrubbing off the ink stains from bingo after Friday nights soiree.

Evidently that paradigm is useful no more.

It should be noted that the only way to get to the fishing and / or audiophile section in Wal-Mart is to journey through both Women's Fashions and Women's Jewelry. This is not only a sadistic store design oversight but also one that bodes ill for the lone male who wants only to reach the sanctuary of the rod and reel display. I still can't believe the girth on that quartet of females who were haggling over spring fashions in the middle of the aisle. Or that I had to detour through lingerie to get around them.

I also can't believe that I used audiophile and Wal-Mart in the same sentence but I'm getting off the subject at hand.

Back at Chateau Outfoxed I backed the truck into the drive and dropped the tailgate for a session of tackle cleansing. It is somehow very nurturing to remove fishing gear from a perfectly serviceable tackle box and transfer the contents into something new and improved. Then to re-string a series of reels with fresh and colorful monofilament. And finally, with an accompanying orchestral nod, to draw forth the new baitcasting rod and set aside the poor, long suffering broken one. Why, I was positively chuckling by the time Ally and the eldest pulled in. And realized that I had lost all sense of time.

It should go without saying that my moment of peace and contentment was in imminent danger.

Ally: "I see you're not dressed."

Glancing down at a pair of khaki shorts and spiffy (albeit somewhat stained) golf shirt, I murmured "I beg to differ?"

Ally: "You forgot, didn't you. What's today?"
OF: "Uh…fishing tackle maintenance day?"

Sarcasm is seldom of much use to me.

Ally and the eldest in unison shrieked, "It's Ring Dance Day! And we're supposed to take pictures in an hour! Where have you been?"

Turns out that they had been to the hairdressers and a half dozen other places that specialize in the assorted and myriad accessorizing of high school waifs for the purpose of attending Ring Dance once a year. I just don't know how I could have overlooked such a thing. And mistake number two was to counter with an accusation of my own.

OF: "Well, y'all aren't dressed either…"

Wrong move. In the world of women's fashion, the actual donning of the frock is secondary to the weeks of preparation thereof. Having toned, tanned, painted, clipped and for all I know steamed the mannequin, the actual slipping on of dress (the purchase of which could fill volumes) is merely a formality. I was hustled into the house. Rather rudely, I thought.

Joined in short order by the more professional of photographer wanna-be's (the mother-in-law and Stu), I set up shop in the kitchen (yes, I had changed my attire). Stu helped himself to a beer and drew forth his weapon of choice, an imposing Sony digital camera with the Laws Rocket telephoto attachment. Mother-in-law had a tripod going on, and a 35mm Nikon to boot, and two bags full of gear.

My little HP digital was suffering a form of penis envy.

But it's all in how you use it, yes?

I did managed to elbow my way to the fore and get eldest and middlest into one frame.

And eventually, they let me and Stu escape to the garage, to coo over the new baitcaster rod and discuss the relative merits of tackle boxes and the perils of Wal-Mart and women in general.

Why, we even managed to be complimentary about the whole thing.

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