Last week I did something I haven’t done for a number of years – I went out to shop and buy a new top. First, let me say that in the past four years I have purchased three other tops, one skirt, and misc. underthings. That’s it. I really hate to shop. I still proudly wear clothes I purchased eight and nine years ago to rave reviews. When friends clean out their closets, they give me their cast-offs. I find things that fit me and give the rest to a charity that picks up off my doorstep, or give to the food ministry at the church I attend (food pantry, hot lunch, and sometimes clothes). The deal was that I had an important meeting and my “fashion consultant” friend told me I needed a solid button down red top in a nicer looking (not sporty) fabric to complete the appropriate look. It certainly sounded simple enough.
First I decided to look at one of those big box stores that carries everything so I could pick up a belt for my vacuum cleaner. In the clothes area there was three racks of clothes and nothing that wasn’t very “sporty.” I did find the vac belt, but left without the top. Next I went to a competing big box store and had the same issue – five racks of clothes – none close to what I was looking for. Finally I went to the local mall – a place I absolutely hate to go – and stopped in four separate shops (the mall itself is half empty) and found the clothing sections practically empty. I left there and went home. At the 11th hour a friend suggested I run down about 5 exits to a strip mall with a few clothing shops and I finally found exactly what I was looking for – $14 (and unknown gallons of gas).
I have never seen the stores so bare. I guess no one is keeping much inventory in stock. I was reminded of the 1950’s (by story and tv only) when shops were small and selections were limited. I have gotten so used to walking into a store whenever I needed something and coming out with exactly what I needed, I often forget that it hasn’t always been that way – that I have gotten spoiled by the over-abundance of everything.
This experience also made me think of one of my favorite Robin William’s movie “Moscow on the Hudson.” The Robin Williams character, a Russian, defects while touring New York with the Russian circus. After sort of being adopted by a black family he offers to go to pick up a few grocery items for the household. In the store he asks the manager where the coffee is, and the manager says “Aisle 3”. When he asks where the coffee line is, he is told “no line, aisle 3” He walks down the aisle looking at and reading aloud ALL the coffee choices and passes out from the over stimulation of it all. It is my favorite Thanksgiving movie – because it reminds me of all I have to be thankful for.
Here is to learning to live with fewer pre-made options and looking forward to all the options available to me by doing it myself.
Today’s list includes, work (of course) making pesto with the last of my basil, buying cheese cloth to make my own soy milk, and mulching of leaves in my back yard.
Tomorrow I will work, visit a 99-year-old friend, and will try to make pita bread and my second batch of hummus.
Sounds like a good amounts of new stuff to try and accomplish. Wish me luck!