Sunday nights are the fucking worst. As long as I can remember, this particular night has been a bastion of self-doubt and false resolutions. In high school, it was when I’d resolve to write my notes in legible handwriting and have a neat and tidy folder for homework assignments. In college, it was when I decided I’d stop eating french fries for every meal with the enthusiasm of a bad kid in Willy Wonka’s factory, under the incorrect assumption they were free (see: crippling student debt).
Now, in “adulthood,” the Sunday night monster has only grown stronger. It peers over my shoulder and points at Amazon Prime-eligible items on my screen, cooing in my ear: This will make it all better. Amazon is the perfect outlet for the Sunday night monster, actually; buying only takes a couple mindless clicks and you see the product of your impulse in two days. So, as an ode to my own battle with this monster, the following are the items I have purchased in the throes of classic Sunday night panic attack. I am always aiming to be The Better Caitie, and Amazon helps me pretend that Stuff will conjure her out of thin air.
Natural Himalayan Rock Salt Lamp 6-7 lbs with Wood Base, Electric Wire & Bulb – $24.99
A Himalayan salt lamp is the king of self-bettering products. Its purpose is vague, but it looks really cool, and it is an actual huge chunk of salt. According to a cursory Google, there’s something about positive and negative ions and how we need to get all the positive ions away from us, which sounds wrong but apparently is right. Negative ions are our friends, and can combat bacteria and allergens in the air. One Sunday night, exhausted from the research, I bought my own. Now it’s on all the time. I’m not sure if it’s made my life any better, because it kind of seems like a long-term betterment strategy, but I haven’t been sick since I got it and it looks a bit like a prop from Jurassic Park, which I like. I’ll follow up in six months to let you know if I’m sleeping better and concentrating more easily.
Red 100% Wool Parisian Beret – $9.99
I bought this immediately after purchasing tickets to a screening of Rushmore. It didn’t arrive in time for the screening, but I decided it would make my life better because I would look sophisticated and French. Donning my beret, I imagined that every patron at the bar later would feel a magnetic pull towards my distinctly European sensibilities, which would be on full display as I spilled a bottle of High Life all over the foosball table in my sudden enthusiasm for the A$AP Rocky song that just came on. Everyone would feel a sudden, strange impulse to abandon their PBRs and discuss post-impressionism and the richness of A Moveable Feast with me. That didn’t happen, but I did take a photo booth picture with the hat on and I looked pretty good, so — check!
Tinkle Eyebrow Razor – $4.35
True to my Millennial heritage, I have a penchant for falling into YouTube k-holes. One Sunday night, I happened upon a video of three truly insane 30-somethings screaming about their new favorite beauty product in an iPhone video so shaky I wasn’t convinced it wouldn’t end in death-by-poltergeist. This product was the “Tinkle” eyebrow razor. An embarrassment to say out loud, but a revolutionary way to groom your eyebrows. My eyebrows are of the News Anchorman Left Unplucked caliber, so I’m always down to hear about new grooming techniques. I watched the women excitedly shape their brows with the razor, then move onto their sideburns and their mustaches and chins. By the end I think they’d covered every inch of their faces, squealing all the way. I immediately bought a pack of three razors on Amazon, and now I’ve got a face as hairless as a newborn babe.
SABRE Pepper Spray – Police Strength – Compact Case & Quick Release Key Ring – $9.52
I moved into a new place last September, and for the first time have been living on my own. There is truly nothing better and I can’t speak highly enough of living alone. But the downside is trying to fall asleep alone. Every creak of the house settling, every whisper of the wind, every icemaker whirring in the freezer sounds like a robber tip-toeing the perimeter of my apartment. Is that a screen door being cut open? A set of pliers resting on the hinge of the front door, waiting to snap? Very early on, I realized I had nothing to protect myself with if a thief came in and tried to take all my cool Stuff from Amazon. So I thought about it for a while, and decided I’m not the kind of person that could wield an actual weapon (a knife, a baseball bat, what have you). I just needed something to give me enough time to escape into the night and scream for help. Enter the can of pepper spray that now it sits proudly by my bed, protecting me and lulling me to sleep with its siren song of safety. It makes things slightly more bearable when I hear a bump in the night or the occasional gunshot in the distance. I invite any thief to come fuck with me now that I have my own private supply of lachrymatory agent.
Charcoal Companion Amazing Handheld Bug Zapper – Kill Insects On Contact – PBZ-7 – $9.99
A big part of bettering yourself is learning to choose your battles. Over the last couple of years, I’ve really come around to the idea that you don’t need to struggle with everything. You don’t need to pick at the corner of the plastic wrap on a dvd case for several heart-wrenching minutes when there’s scissors in the drawer. You don’t need to wait until your low gas light turns on or plan routes on hills you can coast down; you can fill the tank literally any time before this! There’s a better way. This also applies to killing flies. I have a screen door that lets in a lot of flies, and there’s not much I can do about it. For a while, I was using rolled-up grocery store fliers to half-heartedly swat at the air. I tried acquiring a zen-like attitude and allowing the flies to share the environment with me. All of my efforts were futile, or in the case of me calling the flies mean swear words so they felt unwelcome and forced to leave, juvenile. Then I remembered this little tennis racket-y device that my (male) friends bought at a 7-Eleven in college. They zapped each other with it constantly for about two weeks until they got bored. But, its intended use was to kill bugs, so I searched for it on Amazon, and lo and behold, 10 bucks. Done. I love killing bugs now. All you have to do is softly graze them with this electrified swatter and they’re on to the next plane of existence and out of my pile of dishes. I know I still have to do those, flies. I don’t need the theatrics.
Retrospec Bicycles Cane Woven Rectangular “Toto” Basket with Authentic Leather Straps and Brass Buckles, Dark Stain – $27.99
This one is pretty simple. I saw a photo on Tumblr of a cute bike with a basket on the front. There was a bouquet of flowers wrapped in butcher’s paper and a dog in this basket. I decided then and there that I’d attach a basket to my bike and ride it down to the farmers’ market, where I’d buy a fresh bunch of daffodils and I’d probably be wearing a long flowy dress, too. Beautiful Boys would tip their hats to me as I passed them in the bike lane, because I’m a powerful woman who knows no speed limit. But, all this basket has carried so far is my bike lock and a decent amount of gathered dust, because I’m still too scared to bike the mean city streets and can’t get any of my friends to let me borrow their dog, even for an hour.
Oster 6331 Inspire 2-Slice Toaster, White – $28.43
For months, two little words had been swimming around my head. Avocado Toast. Avocado toast is like the Kinfolk of foods; Simple, healthy, grammable. A woman who has avocado toast in the morning is unstoppable. I realized, late one Sunday, that I wouldn’t be successful in any manner if I didn’t start my mornings with some mashed avocado on ezekiel bread, toasted, with salt and pepper and maybe some fresh lemon juice. I jumped on Amazon and bought the least-offensive looking toaster, which is hard, because toasters are very ugly. I’ve had this very plain toaster for a couple of weeks now and have used it once to make Eggo waffles. I keep buying avocados and forgetting about them until they’re too mushy to eat, but I believe that one day I’ll wake up early enough to make avocado toast and sit at the kitchen table with a black coffee while the sun rises and I read a beautiful handwritten letter from my stalker.
And so, Sundays continue. Lately, it seems like there’s another one every week. There’s something about Stuff that convinces me — and probably you — that everything will change once you acquire it. While I’m aware of advertising’s charms (I watched Mad Men, the whole thing), I still can’t resist them. Maybe this will be the thing, I think to myself, my cursor hovering over the Add To Cart button on a seventy-dollar alarm clock that produces fake sunlight to blind you awake in the morning. But truth be told, I don’t mind my impulse buys. Whether they’re vain, vapid, or entirely useless, they remind me that I’m always trying to be a better version of myself. Beautiful and lasting change doesn’t come from one night of guilt, brain-racking or firm decrees, but with trial and error. What better way to make mistakes than with an endless scroll of “You May Like” suggestions? Long live free 2-day delivery.