Monday, April 19, 2010

Getting off the property

Yesterday I decided I needed a day where all I did was whatever I wanted to do. I took the El to Lincoln Square, planning to sit at The Grind and read a bit, and then perhaps do some budget  shopping.

At the counter I ordered a beverage and a bagel, but when I handed my debit card over, the cashier told me there was now a $10 minimum for plastic.

(A TEN-dollar minimum? At a COFFEE shop? What did they expect people to buy?)

"OK," I smiled, gritting my teeth. "Off to the bank."

Thus it was I paid a $3.00 ATM fee to take out cash for a purchase that cost just slightly more than the ATM fee. Cripes.

Gamely trying to hold onto my carefree-day buzz, I returned to the cafe, ordered my stuff, and sat down. I opened my book, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," by Stieg Larson. This is apparently a popular book, but I have to say, the translation from the Swedish is stilted, and well, a third of the way in I'm bored, not to mention confused by the endless relatives involved in this "mystery." The characters are flat and uninteresting, and they don't have to be.

After my stint at the cafe I took a walk to a local consignment shop. Although I'm on a budget, I'm also trying to intelligently re-outfit myself. I'm not a tall gal-- five feet, actually, and fairly petite. I have trouble finding clothes where the sleeves and shoulders fit, and as a result, I often buy clothing (usually from thrift stores) that almost fits. Lately I've decided enough is enough, that it's time to be more fastidious. More fabulous. So I tried on a number of clothes that looked unusual and promising.

The dressing rooms at the back of this small storefront establishment consist of a hard-walled back panel divided at a right angle by another hard wall. The right wall of the store forms the outside wall of the right-hand stall, and a curtain, the left-side side wall of the left-hand stall. Curtains run across the front.

I was in the left-hand stall, stripped to bra and panties, when the curtains around me began puffing inward from the movement of a hand feeling for the opening. This happened around to the side, and then the curtain was wrenched back from the rear of the cubicle. A middle-aged Asian woman stopped, holding an armful of clothes, looking at me blankly.

"Hello!" I said brightly.

"This is individual, or group?" she asked in a heavily accented voice.

"Oh, it's individual, " I said, still standing in my underwear, briefly reflecting on this recurring public  half-naked theme in my life.

She stood there, silently, for a moment.

"But," I chirped, "I'll be out in just a few minutes!"

"OK." And she was gone.

I found two (two!) reasonably priced dresses and left. And now I can't help, as I walk down the street, or  at work, suddenly starting and looking down to see whether I've got on clothes.


SP said...


ClassyGal said...

LOL Your "adventures" make my day! I'm glad I'm not alone with these "fun" adventures.

JC said...

SP - communal changing rooms. Filene's basement used to have them. You just dive in, grab a mirror, and change. The good part is that you can ask other people's opinions about clothes.

M Hastings said...

This was absolutely hilarious!

Although, I must admit, I might have given up on the coffee, myself. Lazy is what I am.

Maggie M said...

Filenes ALSO made you look like a big white beached whale, and I was SKINNY way back then. Think they got those mirrors off some horrible freak show! NO teenager should have EVER been made to undress in front of them. EVER! Think I am still having body image issues because of that! SHUDDER!