i've decide on a pair of shoes, which, paired with my black cropped adidas running pants make me look clownish and unstable. this matches the image i'm trying to convey.
my one-woman fashion show is being observed by an older gentleman lounged out in a chair, providing commentary on the footware choices of the various women in the store. i'm not sure if he's actually with someone, or if he is merely a hobbyist. i see him exchange looks with another customer.
"believe it or not," i say to them, "i like them."
"i was just saying that you could really pull those off," he tells me. "but you'd have to really like them to wear them."
i wonder what makes me able to "pull them off." they're just shoes. is it because i have feet instead of bloody stumps dangling from my pelvis?
at the register, i realize my id case with my money and debit card is missing. [last seen being emptied at the ghetto spur at approximately 2 a.m., it's contents traded for gatorade and burritos.]
i ask the saleswoman to hold my shoes. i'll be back.
8:11 -- i'm hauling ass through half the length of the mall to get to my car. the plan is to find my card holder and come back tonight. but my plans are always filled with misunderstandings about conventional time-keeping. and this mall closes at 9 p.m.
not to mention the store is in a heightened state of code 200.
8:15 p.m. -- i'm thinking how this is a waste. i had more shopping to do anyway [cheap thermals at the crap, still searching for leggings, a pair of cozy boots]. i should just come back on thursday when i have more time.
8:20 p.m. -- i take a short cut, ditching off 6th avenue east earlier than normal. yields and stop signs trump other traffic and 4th street's usual street carnival of last chance liquor shoppers who just hang out in the middle of the street. usually with a stroller or two. always looking like they were dropped from the sky. in vikings' jerseys.
8:28 p.m. -- card holder spotted and i'm out the door.
8:40 p.m. -- i am back at the mall. i may have time for the gap and the shoes.
8:45 p.m. -- the woman in line in front of me decides to apply for a younkers credit card. her young daughter muses aloud to no one: i'm just a plain jane. her mom gives her a long scrutenizing gaze, but says nothing.
the saleswoman calls for backup. backup comes and helps a woman who casually walked to the other side of the register to avoid our line.
i perform a a slide show of all my meanest faces.
8:49 p.m. -- the budger realizes the error as she leaves the store. she says: oh! i thought you were with them! and points at plain jane and younkers' new credit card holder. this is a worse insult than when she budged.
shoes in hand, i boot.
8:49 p.m. -- there is a line at the crap. i snag two thermals, a scarf and some spontaenous socks. i write a love sonnet to myself in my head thanking myself for not being the sort of person who bothers with anal things like "trying clothes on" and "hemming and hawing over colors." i know my sizes, and i always opt for brown, green, black, off-white. this makes me the world's oldest geranimals fan, but it comes in handy in times like this.
time spent at the crap? eh. 17 seconds.
8:53 p.m. -- i know they will have leggings at charlotte russe. and i know right where they will hide them. i also know that these are leggings to be worn under something else, but that i am going to let them stand on their own. i keep this to myself so they don't balk at selling them to me. or have me arrested. two pairs -- grey and black -- and i'm out.
8:55 p.m. -- i'm still cursing the lack of cozy boots. there is no time to get to dsw and younkers came up short on what i exactly want. as i leave the story i make eye contact with the best pair of cozy boots i've seen yet. exactly what i want, in a color i didn't expect. on a display at the buckle, right across the way.
in one fluid movement, i'm in the store and waving the boot like it's a pompom. "do you have these in an 8!" i scream to the girl who has begun the cleaning process. she disappears into the back room and comes out a minute later with my boots*.
8:58 p.m. -- "we have two minutes!" she says, ringing up my purchase. this is when i notice they are steve madden and i can't believe my luck.
8:59 p.m. -- i leave the store, heading back to the barnes and noble entrance. j-man, an employee who has worked there since my first trip to the store and who recognizes me as a customer, is closing the wire gates. i sprint toward the store, bags swinging. he laughs and tells me he'll wait for me. i continue to sprint. he says: "no, seriously. you don't have to run."
i imagine that he is giving me the gift of dignity.
and that, my friends, is how i got it all done in 20 minutes. i won't have to go back to that cesspool again for months.
* yes, these are techinically slippers. try to stop me from wearing them with leggings in public. and then watch for my appearance on "what not to wear."