Okay, so have you been to the Camarillo Premium Outlets?

Holy LORD.

My friend is visiting from Norway, and she and I went today, after dropping off C jr. Can I just say, in a sort of squeak – yow. I enjoy a good outlet experience every now and then (that’s what she said), but I’m hardly an Outlettie. An Outletter. An Outlettite. Jesus. Anyway – M wanted to go, so I was game…I looked it up online and saw there was a True Religion outlet! Really expensive jeans for cheaper! Okay! But I wasn’t prepared for…

HUGENESS.

Eyeballing the list, I’d say there are around 180-200 stores at this place. And good ones! Like, Tory Burch, the outlet! Sony! Bose! Vans!!

Oh, yeah – I’m currently wearing my new, high-top vans that are totally KILLER. People of the world, listen to me! I love my shoes!! I shall wear them until they are falling apart, like my last pair of Vans! I had my first pair when I was eight and they were purple and white checks and I loved them with a fiery passion similar to the one I have now!

I bought C a pair of classics, and now he, too, walks in that springy, Vans way.

Vans! I clutch you to my bosom and declare poetry to your soles!

So today, we’re driving along and C jr asks me: Do you believe in Limbo?

C jr is nine.

I think a bit. God, no. I don’t believe there are other places that we go. I mean, places, like physical areas. I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that the afterlife (got a question about that, btw) is subdivided according to how you died, how old you were when you died, how old your socks were when you died. What I do believe is that you can experience heaven, hell and hey – why not – limbo right here on good ol’ planet earth. Have you been in line at the DMV? Holy limbo, Batman. I also know that while I do respect the right to choose what you believe, I do not believe in any religion that uses fear as an obedience tactic. Let’s leave that to Stalin. I’m also not sure about the God thing. I used to be. I used to be pretty damn sure that God existed, in that my-parents-will-never-die way, but then one of them did and now I have some more questions.

Questions are good. Questions are vital. There’s almost nothing more troubling to me than someone who has no questions. Who believes, unequivocally, that what He Believes is the Truth. I’ve come across folks who declare and declaim about GOD and HEAVEN and (whoa that’s hot) HELL – much like Glengarry Glen Ross with the smooth-talking and the promises and the fact that it’s all just swampland in Florida.

What I will not stand – what I absolutely WILL NOT TOLERATE – is selling me your religion. No. Nonononononono. Don’t stop me in the street. Don’t knock on my door. Don’t hand me a pamphlet or leave it in the airport restroom on the off-chance that I’ll find your God while I’m having a poo. I am mightily offended when someone tries to “save” me. But here’s the thing – I think I get it. I mean, here we all are, hurtling around and around on this ball, and most of us are scared shitless about After. Because really, no one’s ever been and come back to tell the tale. Oh, I know, there are those people who have died and seen a light or their grandmother or Liberace or whatever. Great. Awesome. That’s what happened to you. But until it happens to me, I’m not taking anyone else’s word for it.

But again with the hurtling around thing – contemplating mortality is a bit of a sinkhole. Either you do it in a way that leaves you like Wow, I’m alive right now and goddammit I’m going to eat some ice cream, or you end up sucking on your shoelaces, gripping your knees and whistling in a sort of spooky way. I’ve done both, and I gotta say, I prefer the ice cream.

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