I’m not a shopper. I am fairly frugal. I do not like clothes, crowded racks, narrow aisles, consumerism, materialism, dressing room attendants, 10% discounts if you sign up for store credit cards, buy-one-get-one-half-off, or any store that hangs items higher than 5’ 3”. I have always alleged that I do not have the shopping gene. However, I now know that I do have it, it was just recessive as I did throw a daughter who loves to shop and I do love to spend time with her. In order to meet her where she is, I sometimes spend whole days shopping. Today was one of those days.
These are the moments when God reveals to me that He is real, that He sees me, that He saw everything I did in college and that He gave me a daughter who loves to shop as a reminder that what comes around goes around. This is indeed a fair and merciful penance. It is a good thing, however, when a shopping day falls on a single digit Vermont winter afternoon when the mountain winds are too high and the chair lifts are closed. This takes the edge that I could be doing something more fulfilling off.
There are simple pleasures even when shopping that make the day a gift! Today they were too plentiful to mention exhaustively but I will highlight a couple. Nothing is sweeter than the little old man who sits patiently on the chair either outside the dressing room or at the entrance of the store waiting for his partner. I am choosing partner here because I have come to learn that it is not always a wife squeezing into something in the dressing room that the man waits on. I suppose earlier on I would have assumed this was the practice only of those married for decades; now I know those are very often men on their second or third marriages or even waiting on a girlfriend. Whatever the nature of the relationship, I think it’s sweet that they wait and that they are patient. So spotting the token sitting man has become a much loved part of shopping for me. A kind hearted Where is Waldo game.
Another highlight today was trying on dresses with my near teenage daughter in opposite dressing rooms. We had both taken in armfuls of clothes to try on and would periodically call to each other for a quick opinion. That alone was a favorite moment. At one point we opened our respective doors to find we were standing there in the same dress. A simple, casual, floor length, steel grey dress with black flowers fading out around the bottom. She looked beautiful, and graceful, and all grown up, but she said she loved it on me. Twelve and a half years ago I took a fairly uneventful ambulance ride to a Level One Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Oakland, California to set free a tiny four pound baby girl with an apparent recessive shopping gene. Grandma Moses said, “Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.” Oddly, I suppose, so too is shopping.