Margaret B. Davidson
remove the envelope from the mailbox, eying with suspicion the bold,
DATED MATERIAL PLEASE DELIVER IMMEDIATELY.
Knowing Ill regret it, I tear open the envelope. Im
a "Preferred Customer," and if I shop Tuesday Ill get
fifteen percent off all purchases. Today is Tuesday. I do not want to
shop today. I do not want to shop today, tomorrow, or even next year,
but I need new stuff to take on vacation. Luggage is searched these
days, and having the world watch as my bag lady garments slither off
some slick counter at JFK is a thing to be avoided. And fifteen percent
savings! The lure is too strong, so I head for the mall.
Its hot in the mall. Airless. Ignoring claustrophobia, I march
into Bergstroms, purposeful, determined.
Racks of clothing loom, becoming gargantuan as I approach, daring me
to attempt penetration of their ranks. Items jostle against one another,
dickering for space, some droop from their hangers as though desperate
to escape. Ugh! A collage of colors, a muddle of sizes.
take a deep breath. Okay, blue! I like blue.
Which blue? There are fifty shades of blue. I grab a pair of pants,
and head for the blouses. Find one that matches the pants. Ah, heres
one! Nope, wrong size. This one is the right size, but does it match?
Ill try it. Might as well grab several others at the same
time. Yellow -- yellow is summery, and Ive always liked green.
Should get mix and match though. Do all these colors go together?
I feel dizzy. Ill be better once in the changing room.
five items allowed, says the sign. Five? Why five? Why not six, or eight?
Two pants and three tops, or three pants and two tops? Theres
no assistant in the vicinity, so I dart furtively into a cubicle with
ten items, suspecting theyre secretly watching and will come after
me. Darn it! The door doesnt close properly. With my butt holding
the door shut, I attempt to pull on a pair of pants without removing
my shoes. A sneaker gets stuck inside the pant leg and I struggle to
get it free. Okay, breathe deep. Hurrying doesnt work. Take shoes
pants fit, and this blouse, but the blouse doesnt match the pants.
With a sinking heart, I realize I cant avoid dressing and making
another foray outside. But what do I do with all this clothing I dont
want? Not enough hooks. Rejected items draped over the chair, spilling
onto the floor. Do I leave it all here, or take the stuff out and hang
it back on the racks? But I have more items than I should, and if I
come out with it all the dressing room police might spot me. Okay, leave
the discards. Go into a different changing room next time. They wont
know who left the mess. Its their job, for Gods sake.
I wander aimlessly around and around chaotic racks of clothing. This
is nice, but its a ten, and I need a twelve. This is a good color,
but it doesnt match anything I own. I glance at my watch and realize
Ive been roaming for hours. Im beginning to feel sick, and
that man over there has been watching me for ages. I must look suspicious.
Ive got to get out of here.
I head for the exit through intimate apparel, mens outer
garments trying to look nonchalant, but knowing I appear guilty.
Im sure the security guard is following me, but I dont turn
to look. Rushing for the safety of the parking lot, I glance to neither
right nor left, anxious only to escape the insanity of too many choices,
of over-stimulation, of something I cant put a name to.
Fresh air revives me, and Im almost recovered by the time I reach
the car. Fifteen percent simply isnt worth it
Wait a minute. Whats this trapped beneath the wiper blade?
SHOP WEDNESDAY AND SAVE AN EXTRA 30%.
Okay, Margaret, dont lose it. Do not lose it here in the parking
Once on the open highway I roll down every window and emit one bloodcurdling,
Margaret B. Davidson November 2003
Without The Hassle
Margaret B Davidson
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