An upcoming trip has forced me to buy new clothes. I headed ‘down below’ leaving narrow, twisty roads with no traffic and ending up on straight multi-lane freeways with bumper-to-bumper cars. I left trees for pavement, shade for hot direct sun, and little general stores for a mall. I left the few locals going about their day for crowds of people taking selfies.
For those who don’t know me, I hate shopping. It makes me grumpy. People overload, breathing in exhaust, too many things to choose between, too much stuff, too much money, all of it.
I especially detest clothes shopping.
So, there I was at the mercy of happy salesgirls. And as with all writers, the internal dialog was much more honest than the external.
‘Hi! How are you today!’
Leave me alone. ‘Fine, thanks.’
(I’m purposely using exclamation points instead of question marks because these girls are just so damn chipper.)
‘Can I help you find anything!’
If I want your help, I’ll ask. ‘No thanks.’
‘Great! Well, just so you know, we have these amazing ______ on sale today!’
Do I look like someone who would wear…I don’t even know what the heck that is. ‘Thanks.’
She used some phrase obviously meant to be a fashion statement that she assumed I’d know the meaning of. She was referring to these weird looking…pants I guess. Lacy, as wide as any bell-bottom pants I wore back in the 1970s. I thought at first it was a skirt. They were either a long skirt or too-short pants, coming a few inches above the ankle.
‘And we have a great sale on bras today that will make your girls happy!’
What girls? I’m alone. Then it dawns on me she means breasts. I have never referred to my breasts as girls. I just smile politely and continue pushing through hangers of weird pants.
Actually, a couple months ago I broke down and bought a new Viking breastplate at that store, after making my last one last several years. I think the bra will take my whole luggage weight limit of fifty pounds.
When I had a few things draped over my arm, she came back. ‘Shall I start a room for you, hon’!’
I’m not your ‘hon’. ‘I suppose.’
‘What’s your name, sweets! I’ll put it on a door for you!’
Well, it’s sure as hell not ‘sweets’.
And so it went. I restrained myself as much as possible, although a few remarks slid out anyway. Along the lines of, ‘no, I don’t want to apply for your store credit card, your company frankly sucks at customer service’.
But I survived, at the end sweaty, rumpled, cussing, and with a headache.
I hope those clothes last me until I take another big trip (which means years) because I refuse to do that torture again any time soon.
I headed home to sweet air and wind in the trees and happy dogs and a husband who’d made dinner.
And somehow, that weird pants/skirt thing made it into a bag and came home with me. I plan on taking it to work and showing them to the girls (actual girls, not breasts) so they can tell me what it is. I have a horrible feeling I bought something that’s supposed to be worn to bed rather than out in public.
Either way, the shopping is done for another decade.