Disembodied Talking Barbie Head

I just had the greatest shopping day ever. Ever in the world. It turns out that when you don’t have to try on clothes in badly lit veal pen dressing rooms, consumerism can be quite rewarding!

I started out the day by sleeping in until ten this morning, when I was wakened by the twin siren songs of one of my neighbors jackhammer and motorcycle. That’s what it sounded like, anyway: BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM! RRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRR! Over and over again. I stayed up latish last night watching a movie and had done the thing where you wake up at the time you normally do for work and freaked out because you were going to be late, but then remembered it was Saturday, woo! and therefore you don’t have to get up quite yet. Except: BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM! RRRRRRRRRRRRRrrrrooooooowwwwrrrrrRRRRR! Rrrrr rrr rr! BLAM!

I spent most of the morning making lists, an activity I enjoy inordinately, and then sallied forth to do some Burning Man shopping. Only a month away. Am I crazy for going? Not really. I think I would be having a little more fun getting everything organized if…um, I don’t know. Organizing is going fine. Got all the stuff we need, more or less. But not everything, obviously, because I had to go to Display and Costume and Target today, but still. Not feeling too stressed. I haven’t been feeling extremely jazzed about going, to be honest, but I hope very much that today’s purchases will serve to mitigate those ambivalent feelings and propel me into All Fun All The Time! mode as I get closer and closer to the desert.

So imagine how excited I was, upon pulling into the D&C lot, to discover that today was their red tag sale, and so that some things were going to be very very cheap. Sp exciting. I was specifically looking for fake flowers with which to make this very silly top to wear with my new circle skirt (that I have yet to hem). I got a very cheap, very padded blue bra on my last trip to Target and was trying to think how best to embellish it because if you wear a bra by itself then, hello, you’re walking around in your underwear…not that people don’t do that at Burning Man, of course. But come on, why walk around in a plain cheap padded bra when you could walk around in a cheap padded bra with flowers all over it? As if you had fallen chest first into some sort of very sticky meadow! Right? You can just see it, right?

I could really just visualize how completely cute and cool this would be, and was filled with joy in my heart to discover that there were lots and lots of fake flowers on sale today. I got several bunches of white hydrangea (the skirt is blue and white) and one bunch of some little blue flowers. They take their fake flowers very very seriously at Display and Costume, let me tell you. They’re all labeled with their proper names (“Scabiosa”, “Dendrobium orchid,” “Larkspur.” I would have just called them “that small blue one with the spikes” and “That one that’s kind of purple and cone-shaped”) and one of the salespeople told me she’d spent all of yesterday rearranging the display for”better flow.” I told her the flow was great, and I wasn’t lying. Especially the flow where I paid something like ten dollars for all the flowers, when one piddly wreath of some sort of ivy is twelve dollars. Love that flow right there.

So, imitation flora secure, I quickly stocked up on marabou halo headbands (on sale), Hawaiian leis (not on sale but very cheap anyway), small disco balls (neither on sale nor all that cheap if you ask me, but still very cool). I saw all sorts of other things I wanted to get: bead curtains! feather boas! these funny crepe paper centerpieces of giant tulips! All sorts of wonderful things. I wish I had a scanner because one’s receipt from Display and Costume is always so great. Anyway I kept my head and made it out of there for a very reasonable price and was still flying high by the time I got to Target.

Target is great. You know it is and you know you go there all the time and you know you love it. Everyone loves Target. Even my father, my sister reliably informs me, he of the very discriminating and gourmet tastes, he of the shoe collection that rivals the size of probably everyone combined on Sex and the City, he of the several matched china sets and the entire Le Creuset set, including the Dutch oven…even he loves Target. Everyone. I, of course, am no exception, and thus it was with a glad cry that I unfolded my painstakingly created list and hurtled on in there.

I mostly just had to get things like ziploc bags and eight thousand wet wipes and lotion and things like that, but there was one thing that was pressingly close to the top of the list: Barbie. Specifically, some sort of Beauty Parlor Barbie type thing. You remember (yeah, sure you do!) that at Burning Man we’re doing a spa? With nail polish and sugar scrub and henna and body paint and whatever? Part of my job as a responsible spa-camp member is to put together some sort of shrine to…uh, to beauty, or to spas, or to beauty parlors, or something. The original idea was to get some little skeleton people and dress them up and do a Day of the Dead type thing, but you try finding little Day of the Dead skeletons you can dress up and put under the dryers…and don’t tell me to get them at that costume store I’m always talking about (hi Display and Costume! Love you!) because I already asked. Barbie is a pretty natural progression from little skeleton dress-up dolls, so I thought that I’d see if I couldn’t find something along those lines for our shrine. How hard could it be, right? Barbie looooves going to the spa.

So I found the Barbie aisle…my Target has not only one of those cool cart escalator things but also an entrie aisle devoted solely to Barbie…and checked out what they had. Some things have changed, Barbie-wise, since the days when I was actively playing with them…like there is this weird new type of pouty lipped Barbie that’s called something like Super Trendy Style Barbie, which I can’t find on their site but I promise you I saw. Their feet detach so you can give them different types of platform shoes. I promise you I saw them. There’s also Pregnant Barbie and Baby Dr. Barbie who I guess is an OB/GYN and there’s also Toddler Dad Barbie Guy, or something, who wheels a little boy all in his Graco stroller. Pretty weird. But most of it is all the same: Princess Barbie, Ballerina Barbie, Beach Barbie. I was a fairly traditional Barbie player in that all my barbies ever did was talk about sex and boys and then have sex is someone happened to have a Ken doll on them. The only variations had to do with early exposure both to Clash of the Titans and The Valley of Horses, and thus my Barbies got it on both Greek-god and caveman style, you’ll be happy to know.

And you’d think it would be pretty easy to find a salon Barbie, but really it wasn’t. I was going to give up and take my ziplocs home when all of a sudden…Get Glam Barbie! As you can see, it is a giant Barbie head. That talks. A disembodied Barbie head that talks and you can braid its hair? I think I see a shrine! Our camp is going to rule.

At the chekout counter I had a salesperson with a ring through her lip and was behind a mom and a little girl who was maybe eight.

Little Girl: Whoa! That’s cool!

Mom That is cool! That’s just really neat! (to Chiara) Remember having all that stuff when we were kids?

Inside Chiara’s Head Huh? Wait, how am this little girl’s mom reminiscing with me? Am I old enough that moms are identifying with me? What’s going on?

Chiara Yup, sure do!

Mom I loved all that stuff. I think I even had this thing when I was a kid. Or something like it.

Chiara: Oh, totally. Me too. Or, well, okay, I didn’t have this thing, but I totally knew a girl who did. [This, by the way, was a lie. I’m pretty sure I didn’t know anyone who had one of the Disembodied Barbie Heads. Key Girls, help me out over here.]

Lip Ring Salesgirl: You’d think they’d do something to make it more millenial. Like, whatever, it talks. They’ve had talking Barbies forever. I used to play Barbies all the time, and I knew this girl who had them all, and she had one that talked.

Chiara: Yeah, there’s always that one bitch who has all the Barbies and all the My Little Ponies. Hate her.

LRS: I know! And this girl gave them all away one day…not even to any of us. Just gave them away to a total stranger. Would you like cash back?

Chiara: No thanks. I’m just going to go home and play with my Barbie now.

LRS: Uh, okay.

Chiara (babbling now) Well, I’m not going to like, play with it. Just taking it home. Probably won’t even open it tonight. My boyfriend is going to Alaska. I miss him. I’m using it for a totally arenative…alrernantive…AL-TER-NA-TIVE purpose. I mean, not like alternative like alternative lifestyles, just I’m going to do something really cool with with it. So I’m not really playing with it, per se…

LRS (to next customer): So did you find everything okay?

So it’s been a pretty exciting day. I’m taking a break from sewing all the on-sale flowers to my cheap blue bra…its’ not coming out quite like I thought it would, I have to confess, but whatever. Haven’t opened the Barbie Head yet, but, oh man, when I do? Watch out.

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