- Get gas at Cumby's and internally chuckle when the clerk thinks you just woke up.
- Decide not to bring your laptop with you and grab your camera instead because you hope to catch the sunrise but you obviously end up at Starbucks and have to write in your tiny notebook because you were not thinking clearly at 5:14 in the morning.
- Get yourself a grande mocha and say, "hell yeah!" to the barista who looks like she just crawled out of bed and thinks you are Elf when she asks if you want whipped cream on that.
- Sit alone at Starbucks writing in a tiny notebook listening to blenders and too-loud jazz music because the stores you need to go to don't open until 8:00.
- Decide that sleep is never necessary when chocolate coffee is just a car ride away.
- Refine purchase list.
- Drive by frozen ponds and ponder the existence of life in said ponds.
- Write a reminder note to check if frogs really bury themselves in mud to survive the winter.
- Check the time.
- See that it's only 6:30 and you still have an hour and a half to go before needed store is open.
- Remember when stores had crazy ridiculous "holiday shopping hours.'
- Dig the song on the radio! "How many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand....The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind."
- Plan a fake vacation to Paris.
- Concede that 11 degrees is really not that bad, in fact it can be fun to get bundled up.
- Wonder about all the people who are just setting foot out of bed, are turning off their alarm clocks or getting into the shower.
- Find a beach to take pictures of the sunrise at.
- Pull up to the beach and notice the low tide.
- Savor low tide memories of stuck shoes, blue crabs, sand dollars and sea urchins.
- Pull on hood, grab camera and brace yourself for the cold, cold wind.
- Ask yourself why in hell you are on a sandbar at 6:58am when your rearview mirror temperature gauge says 'ice' instead of a numeric temperature.
- Melt a little, not at the heat coming back on in the car, but at "Crash Into Me" which is on the radio after you start the engine.
- Drive to another beach with a different view.
- Get out.
- Take pictures of birds and barges.
- It's final. You really are a fool. You can't feel your fingers.
- Get back in the car.
- Pray the store you need really does open at 7:00 even though the website said 8:00.
- Write a song in your head while walking up to the store:
Are you open30. Sing song as if it will help your cause.
Please be open
Are you open
Please say yes!
31. Swear out loud.
32. Agree with the radio as it plays "I think your crazy" by Gnarles Barkley.
33. Tap foot, sing, bob head.
34. Ask the question: Kill time at Walmart or read book while waiting
35. Get lost in Walmart.
36. Emerge from the Walmart vortex with wrapping paper, socks and a bunch of other stuff you really didn't need.
37. Look at the time and notice that your store just opened.
38. Enter store.
39. Grab a cart.
40. Let the Christmas music whisk you away to that magical holiday place that has been eluding you this year as you become happily dazed by all the fabulous fabric that you have to choose from and the wondrously nice people who happen to be in the same altered state of reality that you are.