Monday, January 05, 2009

Why I Am Not Now, Nor Have I Ever Been, Cool

I spent most of today on my own, shopping for odds and ends and visiting some cool fabric stores (when did I become someone who enjoys visiting multiple fabric stores in one day?), roasting potatoes and leeks for homemade soup, and just basking in the aloneness. Theo spent the day with a sitter and I cannot express just how much I needed that time today. The past three weeks were fun and the family togetherness was great and the fact that Jeff was around all day for most of the time made it fantastic. It might sound goofy but we're all happiest when our family is together, just hanging out and doing our thing.

On the other hand, togetherness has its limits, and between our weather-related quarantine and plenty of time spent on tiny regional airplanes with three people in two seats, I was ready (shall we say DYING) for some new scenery. So on my day off, I decided to head to one of the hip and happening neighborhoods in my fair city. I wore my groovy new necklace (made from a Scrabble tile!) and cute boots and anticipated eating an tuna-and-caper tosti for lunch and fitting right in with the hipsters. After exiting a fabric store where I bought nothing but coveted everything, I spotted a vintage clothing and furniture store across the street. Perfect! I would browse for stylish bargains! I would find a sixties-era chair to re-cover with modern fabric! I would buy vinyl record albums!

So I entered and checked out the wares and appreciated the enticing descriptions on the safety-pinned paper price tags ("You NEED this retro floral couch! $85"). I picked out a sweet summer dress that was clearly stitched by some sixties housewife. Its pleats were perfect. It would be just the thing for summer. Would it fit? As if by magic, the sales attendant materialized and pointed me toward the dressing room. I smiled and said thanks, wandering off as I appreciated my city, where a fifty-five-year-old man in a hot-rollered wig, a rhinestone sweater, and lip gloss works in retail sales. Here I am with the hipsters, I thought.

So I tried on the dress and it fit like it was tailored for me. The fabric was thin, I'd need some kind of foundation garment, but that's OK. For ten bucks, it could be mine. And I reached back to unzip it and realized the zipper wasn't going anywhere. And neither was the dress. And I stood there in my argyle knee-highs and see-through yellow day dress and figured, what the hell, I don't really have a choice. So I exited the dressing room and found the attendant and asked for help with my zipper. "Up or down?" was the reply. "Down, please," I said.

And that's how I ended up practically exposing myself in the aisle of a resale shop, being undressed by a transvestite (who, incidentally, had to break the zipper to get me out of the dress, so I didn't end up buying it). It's really too bad Theo wasn't around to see it. Maybe I'll try to re-enact the whole thing for him when he's thirteen and has had too much family time.

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