10 Minute Vacation

Chaos in Print

It’s getting to be a busy time of the year. Between the Christmas shopping, end of semester projects, and the usual year-end depression, we could all use a break. But sometimes, the weekend seems kind of far away, and it’s still a good month to Christmas. So, what are we supposed to do? This is when we have our “10 minute vacations.” This is where we have our own special place that we take off to for a few minutes when a real break won’t do.

I first came up with this concept when I was in Japan. Doing a day trip into Tokyo was a costly venture, and sometimes I just really needed to get out of Kumagaya. That’s when I’d head on down to Kumagaya station, hop in the bus, and head to the Toys R Us on the edge of town. I loved Kumagaya Toys R Us. The day of how I found it is now legend at AEON Kumagaya. So what if I walked the 5 kilometres to it? I found it.

As much as I loved the Kumagaya Toys R Us, I always found it a tad disappointing. All those “hot Japanese imports” that ToyFare magazine always raved about had minimal shelf space. Instead, I was always stuck checking out the hot American imports. But that was OK. Something about being surrounded by toys after toys just recharges me. I’m always surprised I didn’t spend more money there.

But, I’m back home now. Toys R Us is too far away from NAIT. What do I do on the days when I’m all caught up on my work and I need to release the stress? Well, I strap on my shoes and walk across the street to Kingsway Garden Mall. When I need to get away from it all for a few minutes, I head off to…the Disney Store.

(Hear that distant scream? That’s Mr. Anderson lamenting how he’s lost me to the dark side.)

The Disney Store is one of those places that I never really got into until I was in Japan. In Japan, there’s literally a Disney Store on every block…except in Kumagaya. But they were always fun to browse through as I was on my way to Tower Records Shibuya. What made the Disney Stores in Japan a lot of fun, though, was the fact that the Japanese women in my demographic are flat-out obsessed with Winnie the Pooh. So, it was fun to go to all these Disney Stores and see all these hot young Japanese women kung fu fighting over the last Piglet. OK, I’m lying. There were just cat-fighting. But still…sugoy.

Sadly, there’s nothing like that at the Disney Store in Kingsway Garden Mall. Just soccer moms buying the latest Ariel doll for their bratty kids. But something about the Disney Store just provides the proper escape. We’ve all grown up with our fascinations with Disneyland, and the sad truth is the Disney Store is probably the closest most of us will get. So, it’s fun to go there and just…soak up the atmosphere.

And the fun thing is, I can still go to the Disney Store and follow a very anti-consumerist, anti-corporate bent. See, the Disney Store really has nothing I want to buy. The key demographic for most Disney merchandise are little girls who’ve grown up wanting to be a princess. For the mid-20s male like myself, there’s absolutely nothing there for me. Everything is either too young or too girly. Granted, there’s that brief window at the start of October when they dig out and dust off merchandise for The Nightmare Before Christmas, but again, it’s really nothing I want. And there’s also the DVDs, but if it’s a DVD for a Disney movie that I really want, I run down the street to Future Shop and get it cheaper.

Although, they are starting to pursue my demographic. They’re staring to take all off the male heroes from their films (Aladdin, Tarzan, Hercules, etc) and turn it into a line of store-exclusive action figures. Now, with The Incredibles raking it in at the box office, they’ve even got a complete line of store-exclusive Incredibles action figures. It’s just a matter of time until I break down and buy one – overpriced that they are.

(Can you sense the conflict in me, Mr. Anderson? You can turn me back to the good side.)

And, you know, I guess I could always just buy lavish gifts for the cute girl in class I have a crush on. Although, that’s probably not a good idea. Odds are, I’d get her a T-shirt or something, and I don’t know her size. And if there’s one thing I’ve been taught about women, never get their size wrong.

Until then, though, I’ll just go and soak up some free atmosphere. Something about it makes me feel young again, charges up my batteries, and then I’m ready to take on the day again. And I’d better enjoy it while I can. It won’t be too long until my special place is violated with throng after throng of Christmas shoppers.

So, take a 10-minute vacation. Find your special place that’s close to your home or where you work, and when you feel like it’s just time to get away from it all, head to your 10-minute vacation place. True, it may not seem like much, but it’ll go a long ways towards keeping your sanity.

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