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Russia Trip: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
Best of 2002: Movies, Books, Music.
Best of 2003: Movies.
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Sunday, December 01, 2002

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That
R and I spent two and a half hours in REI’s “flagship store” Saturday afternoon. Probably if we weren’t so hopelessly un-outdoorsy it would’ve taken a fraction of that time, but we were like Hutterites at a leather convention: mystified and slightly appalled (do people really pay $60 for a pair of gloves?), curious but ultimately supportive of the exotic way of life (OK, so they use these axes to climb slabs of ice, but why?). It’s not my bag, but hey, if it makes them happy …

For some reason, we were the only people who chose to take the elevator from the parking lot to the store’s main shopping level (I mean, come on, it was cold out, and you have to negotiate several flights of rickety rustic wooden stairs just to go spend money). Then, we were oddballs because we weren’t wearing shorts (OK, the short-panted people were a minority, and if my legs were that ripped maybe I’d be baring my knees on the last day of November, but it made me cold just looking at them).

The staff were really helpful, even though I suspect they get a bonus for seducing shoppers into embracing their lifestyle. The endless willingness to recommend products that would get a person off the couch and into the woods, the cute little tchotchkes that make the hiking trails beckon (hey, I bought this tiny thermometer that attaches to my coat’s zipper, maybe I’ll go for a walk to see if it works ...)

Then I got winded on the boots-testing trail, which must’ve been all of 10-strides long, and came to my senses.