One thing I don’t do very often when I’m home on my rock is go shopping. By shopping, I don’t mean the “I really need to buy shampoo because, hello, next stop dreadlocks” sort of shopping. That I do, because it must be done. I mean, I appreciate dreads as much as the next Island Girl, but I don’t want them – two very different things.
Instead, I mean the all-American hobby sort of shopping, where you go to your store of choice without any specific need in mind – or you have a need but you know grabbing that bottle of shampoo will morph into a hypnotic “well, let me see what they have down THIS aisle” sort of trance. And then, whoops, two hours later and you’ve got a shopping cart full of “stuff you had no idea you needed but how have you lived without all this time?!”
My US store of choice for this sort of shopping was, is and always will be Target. Who’s with me on that one? If I somehow could have turned my hours of Target-wandering (that’s a thing, really, people have been doing it for over 50 years!) into a paid gig, I’d be retired by now. Not even kidding. If I was granted one wish for something to appear on my adopted rock, it would be a fully-stocked Target that stays open through the lunch hour (island sisters can relate to the “closed over lunch” thing).
Quick aside: My abiding passion for all things Target was teased recently when I was in San Juan for a long girls’ weekend. En route to the villa from the airport, I spied a billboard inviting me to shop at Target. Say, what?! Hell yeah! Definitely going on my “to do” list. Alas, my hopes were quickly dashed when I began gushing about my future Target spree to my girlfriends, one of whom actually lives in Puerto Rico. “Honey, not sure how to break this to you, but that Target is a tire store.” Um, excuse me?
But back to shopping on my rock. I just don’t usually do it. But today I made an exception. Mostly because Island Boy and I were bored. The wind isn’t great, so kiteboarding was in doubt. And we did need a few things. So we found ourselves at the local “superstore.” Which is an adventure of the surreal kind, because they have the craziest shit. You never know what you’ll find down the next aisle.
But not in a Target “I really need that” sort of way. More like “holy hell, who thought this was a good idea?!” But still, if you’re into tacky décor, then baby, your ship has arrived and its bounty is endless! Get thee to the superstore immediately and relish in the selections!!!
But there I was, surrounded by things that were never going to make it into my basket. Until I stumbled across the one thing that could attract my attention. In a good way. In fact, I was so mesmerized by my discovery that Island Boy found me rooted in place 10 minutes later, staring with rapt attention at the shelf in front of me.
Because there, sitting before me, was the quintessential item from my teenage years. Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil. SPF negative 10,000. Useful purpose in my life today? Zero. But I couldn’t tear myself away from the promise of “exotic island botanicals” and “a rare blend of nature’s rich tanning oils.” Well done, marketing people, well done!
Of course, the first thing I did was open one of those babies up and take a deep breath. Immediately my mind went back to my teenage years. Where the biggest concern was whether the back of my legs were as tan as the front. You know, crucial teenage girl worries! Before we knew or cared about skin damage, premature aging and cancer. In other words, concerns that are anything but what adult life is about…you know, bills and mortgages and shit like that.
And the memories I associate with this particular smell were really making me smile. And I seriously wanted that bottle of tanning oil. Never mind that it had no practical use in my current situation. Let’s review – thick, sticky oil and a sandy beach? Not exactly a winning combination. Not to mention that I’m all about the SPF today. So even though I was digging the scent-filled trip down memory lane, I was waffling about buying such a purpose-less product.
Then Island Boy chimed in with a “Darling (fyi: he’s British), it’s only $7 AND it is on sale for 15% off. Just buy it already.” I suspect this had more to do with him wanting to get the fuck out of shopping hell, but whatever. He gave me the motivation, so I popped it in my shopping basket. Now it is sitting on my desk, staring at me.
I’m not sure how I will actually use this latest acquisition. My days of sun worshipping for the sake of a golden tan are long gone. Nowadays, my “healthy glow” comes incidentally from sporty endeavors that happen to take place in the sun. And, as anyone who has ever used Hawaiian Tropic Oil knows, this is NOT a product for the sports-inclined girl. Lounging on a sun bed while beckoning the cabaña boy to bring me another umbrella drink? Yes. Water sports? Not so much.
But still…even if I only ever open the bottle to take a whiff now and then for a quick trip down memory lane, then that alone makes this a very good investment. And I suggest you do the same. Not necessarily with Hawaiian Tropic (unless that’s your thing, then go for it), but with whatever your logical mind says is unnecessary but still brings you joy.
I mean, seriously…unless what brings you joy or rekindles great memories happens to be a Maserati, you can probably afford a little splurge now and then without a second thought.
The point is, don’t deny yourself little pleasures. Life is way too short to be practical all the time.
I’m a writer living on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. Originally from the U.S., I followed my heart to the tropics in 2011 at the wizened age of 43. Since then, I’ve been blogging to inspire and entertain. I love kitesurfing, a good gin & tonic, and corgis.
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