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Monday, August 23, 2010

Taking the long way home

Okay, it was a really weird Sunday. And a lot of Saturday. I needed to go to the fabric store again, for some thread and a seam ripper. Well, on Saturday I was all set to go and get it over with and the damn bus never showed up. So there I am, sitting at a bus stop, getting fried. After about 20 minutes of this I thought, fine, I'll take the next bus. But the next bus doesn't go to the end of the line. It's a short one and stops in the middle. This is WAY short of the fabric store.

So I came home and sat around and was hot. Not in the best sense of being "hot" either, sad to slay. However, I decided to work on the project I had at hand, which is the oft mentioned shower curtain. I measured and pinned and pinned some more. I fired up the sewing machine and, while the hubster watched "Goldfinger" I stitched. Carefully, as I was using hot pink thread on white fabric. I made button holes in the top. I don't know why it didn't dawn on me sooner...the window a/c unit is in the dining room. Along with the light and the table I set the sewing machine on. Ha! I was able to stand wearing pants! This is a good thing for everyone concerned, btw, I don't just have "thunder thighs", they're more like Category 5 thighs. And a lap full of my chest. Boobs don't say up on their own, at least not anymore. Yeah, me in the heat? NOT a pretty sight. And I'm too old to give a rat's behind about it, for the most part. Lord, I'm turning into my mother.

Anyway, the first one (I need to make two) came out beautiful, if I do say so myself. But I needed to open up the inside of the button holes so off to the fabric store I went on Sunday morning. You know, if at first you don't succeed, make a gin and tonic and go to the fabric store. Well, after a round about trip (oh, as long as your going out refill the bus pass which necessitated a trip to the subway station) I ended up at the store, which, btw, was having a half price sale on thread. It was fairly early. I found I needed an extra yard of a trim I had purchased for the new valance in said bathroom. So I grabbed the spool and headed to the measuring table.

There was no one there. Just me and the woman behind the table. I put my spool of trim on the table, smiled and said "I just need one yard, please". She looked at me. All alone. No one else even close to the cutting station. And she smiled. And said "please take a number."

I swear. A number?

"Yes. I have to log it into the book". So I pull a number. She doesn't look at it. She's measuring off the yard I had previously requested. She punched the button to make the read out change to the next number, hands me my trim and says "Have a nice day." She didn't log crap. I'm still wandering around the store with my paper number. The one she never looked at. I crumpled it up and tossed (okay, threw. Hard) it into a waste basket. It was the damndest piece of corporate bureaucracy I'd seen in action in YEARS. Well, okay, more like WEEKS, but still...

Well, I got my seam ripper and trim and stuff and I went next door to the big super drug store. You know, one of the ones that you have to look for the drugs because the pharmacy is hidden behind the deli and frozen foods case? I wanted a Popsicle mold. I got to thinking, it's very hot. And I like popsicles. They're better for me than ice cream. And I could just freeze lemonade and limeade and make my own and it would be WAY cheaper.

Nothing even close to Popsicle molds. There was a smallish aisle where the summer items were being sold out. Beach umbrellas, plastic cups, igloo coolers. No Popsicle molds. I went to kitchen ware. Lots of things to put your leftovers in, but no Popsicle molds. I turned to leave. And there is was. On the other side of the summer sale.

Two entire aisles. Filled with nothing but bags of "fun size" candy bars. But Wait! There's More! Rows and rows of plastic jack-o-lanterns in fun, festive colors. Like purple. There's an end cap with witches and scarecrows on sticks, to put on the front lawn you don't have anymore. And HOLIDAY LIGHTS! Granted, the lights are black and orange and purple.

And I'm standing there in the drug store in the middle of August in the 100 degree heat. And I can't find a freaking POPSICLE mold but there's an entire section filled with Halloween merchandise!

It's not even Labor Day yet. WTF?

Well, out I go to catch my bus. I thought I would make myself feel better by taking the next bus down the street to Macy's, where they are, most likely, having a blow out sale. Macy's has a blow out sale pretty much every day of the week, I hadn't seen any ads but it was a good bet. Well, I waited and waited. The bus should have been there by 1:05. No bus. So I thought, okay, it's a sign. You are NOT supposed to buy 10 dollar pants from Macy's today. The next bus home should be there in about 10 minutes so I cross the street and sit on the bus stop over there. Well, I looked at my phone for something. Well, hell, my phone had the wrong time; I hoped I didn't need a new battery. Then, I checked my watch.

That explains why the 1:05 bus hadn't shown up yet, it was 11:55. I have NO idea what clock I had looked at or why I thought it was 1pm when I looked at it. I'm guessing it was the shock of the Halloween display. So I thought, okay. THAT'S a sign! I crossed the street again and waited for the bus that would take me to Macy's and the 10 dollar pants.

After plowing through sale rack after sale rack I had my pants and a nice, floral shirt to go with them. I got to the register and gave her my Visa. She asked about my Macy's card. No, I haven't used it in a very long time and if Macy's has half a brain they closed the account due to inactivity or just plain undesirability, either one would work. Oh, no, she's GOT to look it up. Okay, I said, look it up. But I do not want to use it. I do NOT want to re-open it; I hate being laughed at in public.

After several computer entries I'm being prompted to enter my social, my income and I'm getting rattled and very annoyed. I refused to answer the last questions and she said "well, okay, they'll just send you a letter."

I don't WANT a letter; I just want my 10 dollar pants.

Well, on my way out my son calls, I'm telling him when I'll be home and it hits me. I don't WANT THE 10 DOLLAR PANTS! Or the shirt I bought to go with them. It occurs to me that, with one or two exceptions, everything I buy at Macy's looks like crap on me and I end up not liking it much and it sits in my closet for a year until I stuff it in a bag and donate it. It makes me look old, and dumpy, and worn out. Now don't get me wrong, I am old, dumpy and worn out but I would rather not advertise it.

I went back upstairs and returned the pants and the shirt. They never made it out of the store. It took approximately 10 seconds to do this, another clerk was at the register (thank GOD) and she scanned the labels, said have a nice day and I was off. Something tells me they get a lot of returns.

Feeling quite in charge of myself for a change, I got off the bus at a stop I don't normally use. It's a little longer walk, not much, and the street is shady. The houses, for the first few blocks, list and sell for over a million dollars, even in this market, which is why I don't use it a lot, it just depresses me. As I was strolling down the sidewalk I saw something sitting out on the curb, looked like an old computer monitor. I stopped to look. There was a nicely made sign on the front of it.

"Free Color TV. Works".

I now have a 14" Sony Trinitron in my bedroom. Works like a charm and has picture quality that would make a professional photographer weep. It's smaller than the old TV I had in there, the one with the washed out color, the fuzzy channel guide (which, btw, I thought was my aging eyes) and the odd static humming that had belonged to my mother. The television,not the humming. It's a better size for the room too.

And, I reminded myself of two important life lessons, which I had lost track of over the years.

1: Even though the 40 dollar pants are on sale for 10 dollars they're still a rip off if they're ugly. And

2: Rich people throw away better stuff than I buy new.

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