Day 345

What is it about back to school shopping that makes a boy want to buy crazy things? Today MyBigWalk took me to Target in search of a desk and bookshelf for my son. I understand why a young man might need new jeans and t-shirts and plaid button downs from Aeropastale. Or why he might even need a new pair of $100 sneakers.

We got those things. And then we went shopping for a desk and a bookshelf. Because, you know, it’s his JUNIOR year and if he’s going to be studying that huge SAT book all year and taking A.P. Chemistry and A.P. History he’s going to need a neat new setup. The fact that he does all his homework laying on his bed or sprawled in front of the T.V. in the den (surrounded by empty soda cans) is not the point: just the idea that there’s a brand new clean Target surface in his room for his books and pens electronic devices will help him focus and succeed and get into the college of his dreams.

The only thing standing between my son and an Ivy League School, it seems, is a new desk.

It was a very long hour in Target today.

“It’s OK,” I kept telling myself. “It’s okay if I’m walking around and around in Target discussing the merit of rosewood or deep ebony wood veneer. Because this is my BIG walk for today.”

One drawer or none? Keyboard shelf or not? Faux Arts and Crafts, or sleek modern? I was pretty calm about the whole thing. I was timing myself — up the bookshelf aisle, down the notebook aisle. One binder, two binder, three binder, four. Add a pack of pens, and then a few more.

“I’d rather just order it online,” John said after a while. “The desk, I mean. And the backpack, too.”

As I made my way to the cash register with my new blow dryer (an essential September item), John made a bee-line for the coffee machines. Before I knew it I had a $49 Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino machine in my basket, and I was swiping my credit card.

“What’s more important than a good start in the morning?” he asked cheerfully.

What, indeed? At least I’d done my walk on the last hot day of August in Target’s air-conditioned aisles. There was nothing for me to do but go home and have a homemade latte. Which I did.