Friday, September 20, 2013

Fashion is a Two-Faced Bitch: You Can't Trust Shoes

It was a typical Wednesday afternoon at DSW. The stilletos were preening, the men's tennis shoes were trying to look masculine, as were the women's tennis shoes.  The women's were winning.  The hiking shoes were making fun of the extra wide sizes, the flip flops were being all nonchalant, and back on the sale rack, the purple dotted clearance shoes waited in a dejected slump, while the blue dotted shoes still maintained a healthy optimism.  The running shoes were running in place, and timing themselves.  The sales clerks went about their duties oblivious to the cacophony.

I had barely made it through the door when I was bombarded on all sides with shoe pitches:

"Hey Lady, You like?  Me love you long time" 

"Girlfriend.....This is your lucky day"

"We're too good for you, don't even come over here, we'll slap you  We don't care how much money you have, we will break. your. ankle if you even try us on."  (reverse shoe psychology. It's over my head)

"Ooooohhhh hi!  HI!  Over here!  See us!  Ohhhh we're so comfortable you won't believe it.  You can run in us. Didn't you see the commercial?  Try it, you'll see! " 

And cat calls:

"Well,  looky what we got here. Looks like we got ourselves a Lookie-Lou, fellas!"

"Whatchu lookin for, Baby? We got whatchu need, right boys?"

The bored whispers:

"She wouldn't know an age-appropriate pair of shoes if they stepped on her toes and sang the Star Spangled Banner.  Just ignore her girls."

"She couldn't walk in us if she tried!"

"ssshhhh.  She's not one of our kind"

The taunts:

"Clearance shopper.  Don't even waste your breath kids.  Hey. Purples.  Incoming!!"

"OMG, Chicken, do you even look in the mirror before you leave your house?"

"Ha.  Good luck with those cankles.  I think you're going to need a bigger shoe!"

And finally, the pity talk:

"Poor dear.  She's let herself go"

"Ohh...she seems nice...we should  try and help."

And amazingly,  through it all, the sales clerks remained oblivious.  Not one approached. I was left on my own to deal with the onslaught of judgement, harassment, snobbery and pity in this lonely shoe city.  I really just needed one good friend. One good  pair of black pumps that I could wear for a season; classic, comfortable, not too pricey and wide enough to accommodate the bunions.  Was it too much to ask?

I headed for the back of the store to the clearance rack.  You never know what you might find in the aisle of misfit shoes.  The purples shivered in their boxes, cowering away from the Toes Who Ate Tokyo. The blues wanted nothing to do with me.  The Greens refused to yield a shoe in my size.  The cacophony grew even louder,  I got overwhelmed.  I was about to give up and then I heard it.

A quiet, elegant voice from the end of aisle 5 called to me.  It said, "You should try me on,  Dear.  I think we might be a perfect match."  It was a pair of  Joan and David black leather kitten heels. They were a  classic pair of shoes with a reserved air, and heels that could back a chicken up through a long day of sales calls.  And they had a purple dot. 75% off?  Oh happy day!   But would they fit?  They would!

I bought them at once.   They thanked me for saving them from the hell of 300 sweaty feet per day trying to force a way inside their roomy toe boxes.  I wore them to work the next day, excited to have finally found a pair of moderate height shoes that I could walk in all day.  Or at least until 9:30 am.

At 9:30 am, my shoes and my feet started getting snippy with each other:

"You said you were a size 9. I think you lied.  You're a size 8.5, don't deny."

"I'm a size 9, you impudent peasants. YOU claimed to be a size 9 when clearly you are a size 9.5!  This would never happen in Europe. In Europe, feet know their size!"

"Oh yeah?  Well, in Europe, all the shoes have Mad Cow Disease!"

"You feet are such cretins.   How did we ever get stuck on you!"

"Oh, well, feel free to leave any time, Queens O' De Nile"

"Would that we could, but you ignorant feet have swollen so much we can't escape"

"Hey!  Hey,  you up there!  Call the rescue!  We're going to need the jaws of life to get free of these bitches."

"I'm not going down alone, feet.  I will take you with me."

And this is why I hate shoes.  They all turn on you.  Eventually.

They look trustworthy .  So did Ted Bundy.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Vi Chronicles: Charming Matty

I grew up in a family of people who love to fish.  When I was very young, I could bait a hook, catch a fish,  gut it and cook it.  And I could eat it, but that wasn't the best part. The best part was the process.  The only thing I bait now is my husband. I'm a pretty good husband baiter, to tell the truth.  But that's a whole other story.

We grew up inland, so mostly we fished in lakes.   My Mom, Vi, and her husband, Tony, lived in the city for a long time, however, and the closest water available was the Atlantic. When I would visit them in the summers, we would fish off the pier.

One summer, we spent a lot of time on that pier.  This wasn't a board walk pier, or a tourist pier, or anything romantic. It was just a pier.  A lot of people fished there and it smelled like a lot of people fished there.  It wasn't where you took a girl for a stroll and a stolen kiss.  It was where fish went to die.

One day, I was there with Vi, Tony, their neighbor Matty, and his wife,  whose name I've forgotten.  Matty had a broken leg, probably well earned.  He was reckless, impulsive, gregarious and the life of any party.  That day, he was limping around in a full leg cast, aided by crutches.  I was about 11 at the time.

My mom had given me a pole that I could use to "fish off the bottom", which  basically meant, "sit down, behave yourself, and feel important with this pole that won't catch anything,  while we adults use our much better casting rods to catch the real fish."

Or maybe I was reading too much into it.

There was talk about mackerel vs pollock and I believe it might have been mentioned once or twice that you had to use the casting rods to catch the mackerel, which were the better eating fish, but a little oily.  There was also a lot of posturing and bragging, as the cold beers got passed around from the ever present cooler. I drank my "Sody-pop", as my mother liked to call it, and kept my  eye on the prize, with my stupid ole fishing rod and no casting apparatus, while I kept one ear on the adult conversations to see what bits of grownup mystery I could capture in my net.  I can see me sitting there, all blue eyed and brown skinned, with my denim cut-offs, dirty keds, and my favorite white striped t-shirt.

At some point, I got a bite.  A big bite.  And I yelled, "Hey!  Hey, you guys, I got something here. I caught something!"  Matty came over to help me pull it in.  "Probably pollock or pickerel or something.  Maybe a shoe",  he told  the others.  Well,  we kept working on it, and we pulled that thing in, and what do you think it was?  A beautiful, huge,  mackerel.  "Well, huh.",  Matty said, "Will ya look at that!"   People made a big deal, and took pictures with their gigantic polaroid cameras of me and my two-foot fish.  It was my little moment in the sun, until Matty had to go and steal my thunder.

After I caught the big fish, everyone started fishing off the bottom, as it seemed the good fish were biting there.  Someone else caught one,  and the mood became even more celebratory.  Or maybe that was the beer.  The problem with beer is that it has a window of jolliness, and once that window closes, things can get less jolly without much warning.  Our window closed that day at about 7:30 PM.  At that point, Matty's wife wanted to go home, but Matty didn't want to go, so they had words. Bad words. Then Matty, in a fit of anger, took his crutches and threw them in the Atlantic.

"WELL, THERE!", he said, "Now look at what you made me do!"  and he turned around and limped back up the pier towards a good bar that had cold beer and no cold wives.  The rest of us were shocked into awestruck silence for about a second, and then we laughed, even Matty's wife, because Matty was such a riot.  Everyone forgot about my huge fish after Matty's display of manly bravado.  Later on he cooked my fish and he declared it the best fish he ever ate.  That was Matty's charming side.  Lucky for him, he was more charming than not, and so usually got away with his impulsive drunken acts.

The next day some guys were out on a boat in the harbor.  They saw a crutch floating around, and they pulled it in.  It had Matty's name on it.  One guy said, "Hey, I  know Matty!  He musta dropped his crutch!" He brought it over to Matty's house. Matty got 50% of his crutches back.  Everyone laughed, Matty loudest of  all.

Who do you know that's charming?  And have you ever wanted to go back in time and hug the kid that was you? What would you whisper in the kid's ear before you released her?

PS  I went fishing around for some info about fish to check my memory and I found this video.  It is so reminiscent of those trips to the pier, that I had to show it to you.  I laughed out loud when I saw it.  I believe this is the State Pier in Gloucester, MA.  We fished off the Portland Pier in Portland, ME.  I borrowed it from a guy named Joey C.  Thank you, Mr. C.!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wrong Number....Again.

There's this guy who has my number.  Unfortunately for him, he has the wrong number.

One year and one month ago I got this text:

Wrong number:  Yo, Brett, Dude....Fantasy Football this year?  Pick your teams.

Me: Yo, Dude, Who's Brett? And why is he fantasizing about football? Is that what guys fantasize   about nowadays?

Wrong number:  ROFL  Who is this?

Me:  Not Brett. And my fantasies don't really involve playing any kind of football. I might break a hip.

Wrong number:  LOL . Sorry!  This was my friend Brett's number.

Me:  No worries, Dude.  Good luck with the FF.

Wrong number:  LOL

One Year Later (for those of us not good at math, like me, last month):

Wrong number:  Hey you still up for fantasy football?

Me:  I'm the wrong number you texted last year.  And I haven't learned a thing about FF since we last spoke.  And I'm still old enough to break a hip and never recover.

Wrong number:  LMAO.  No problem.

Me:  Maybe next year.

Wrong number:  Who is this lol

Me:  I'm Chicken!   We do not know each other, though.  Unless Kevin Bacon is somehow involved.

Wrong number:  LMAO haha idk why I have you saved under my buddy Brett's number.

Me:  Yup.  Brett. That's the one.  I don't know him either.  Good luck with your league, though. Really, it's lucky for you I'm not playing.  I'd probably win ALL the fantasies about footballs, and everyone would be mad that you let the wrong number lady play.

Wrong number:  LOL Good luck in life. (Do I sense nervousness here?)

Me:  Thank you, Dude.  You too.  Same time next year?

Wrong number:  lol. Thanks.

You know what I like about this guy?  He's polite, consistent and he doesn't give up on his friends.  You know what is really ironic about this situation?  Not many people are named Brett, but my girls happened to grow up with one, so I can't help but wonder if the Brett my kids grew up with is the one degree of separation between Wrong Number and me.

It's a small world, isn't it?  Some day, I'll be somewhere, maybe Sports Authority, for instance, on a Tuesday night at 8 pm, and I'll hear this young store clerk talking to another clerk about a strange chick he keeps texting by mistake every year about Fantasy Football.  He'll mention how, at first, it was really funny, but this year she invited him to Thanksgiving with her and her family, which was really, like, creepy,  you know? And of course, he said no, but thanks anyway, lol, and now he's afraid she might be stalking him because he keeps getting this feeling like he's being watched.

Like I would ever stalk somebody.  Not that I will be ignored, either.

Chicken out.

credit:  The

Monday, September 16, 2013

Big Dreams

I've shopped at the same grocery store almost every week for the past 15 years.  Some of the people who work there have been around at least that long.

Two who have been there at least as long as I've shopped there are a mother and son duo. I've become fond of them.  We are used to one another, and I like talking to them.  Neither one has a filter, which makes for some interesting conversation, here and there.

Today, as I bagged my own groceries, in my own reusable bags, the Mom of my favorite duo sidled up, and begian to assist.   "Do you mind if I put this stuff in plastic?"  she asked, "Because that way it won't get squished."  I was pretty sure she didn't want to be bothered with the awkward reusable bags.

"That's okay", I said, "You can put it in the reusable bags.  They make unloading the car easier when I get home."

"Okay, yeah, this will keep it all from getting squished.",  she said, continuing to pile things into plastic bags.

I grabbed my reusable bags, and began piling groceries into them, in a race to see how many plastic bags I could limit her to.

"You know, I was thinking", she said, "about an idea I had for if I ever won the millions of bucks, or the lotto bucks,or whatever they call them.  I was thinking about what I'd do."

Well.  Now we were talking.  I was intrigued.  "What would you do?", I asked.

"It's just an idea, but I was thinking, wouldn't it be fun to run down the row of stuff that's all glass and knock it off the shelf.  Just knock everything off, so it all smashes on the floor."

"But why?", I asked.  "They say living well is the best revenge.  Why would you care about your old job once you win all that money?"

"Because it would be funny.  Don't you think?  Just watching all that glass smash all over the floor?"

"Oh, I get it.", I say, "You would smash it all, just for the pleasure of making it smash,  and then pay for it all and for someone else to clean it?  Someone who isn't you?"

"No.  Why would I do that when I've got all that money?  I'd move, maybe to Maine, and change my phone number."

"Well", interjected the cashier, while I was still processing Mom's response, "Do you know what I'd do?"

"No, what would you do?" both the Mom and I asked at the same time.

"I'd wait until three weeks before Thanksgiving and then give my two-week notice!"

"Oh, that's nice", I said, "That you would give a two-week notice.  Not a lot of people are that conscientious."

"Well", said the cashier, "Maybe I'd wait until the Superbowl, and not give any notice at all."

"Why the hell would you keep working here when you have all  that money?"  demanded  Mom.

"Maybe I'd go back to school", he said.  "Learn about something I really want to do."

"I'd  just go do whatever I wanted."   retorted Mom.

On the way out, I passed Shawn, the son half of the dynamic duo.  I wish that I had thought to ask him what he would do first if he won the lottery.  I have heard that he rides his bike to and from work each day, even in snow storms. I drive off hoping Shawn and his mom do win the lottery, even if it does mean a temporary shortage of pickles after the celebratory glass smashing.

What would you do if you won the "millions o'bucks, lotto or whatever"?

Chicken out
Any last words pickles?