HARDLY A WORD WAS SPOKEN
I spend a lot of my life in thrift shops.
Wait, let’s start over. I spend too much of my life in thrift shops. It’s kind of an addiction. But I get some of the best buys in the world.
My favorite shop at the moment is one run by the Council of Jewish Women. Actually, there are several of them near me. I love them all and they love me.
Most recently I was at the one in Van Nuys, searching for some summery blouses among the group marked SHORT SLEEVE BLOUSE $5.00 AND UP.
The spaces between the racks holding all these treasures is very small, and you almost always literally bump into someone coming up the aisle you are going down.
Now this can be a pleasant experience or a nasty one, frequently, I believe, depending on how successful your trip has been so far. At the moment, I was not doing too well.
The woman earnestly searching her way toward me argued against this idea. She picked up and put back each item thatKcaught her eye, never quite finding whatever she was looking for.
Once or twice I watched her linger over a particular blouse, obviously hoping things would improve. They didn’t. At least not while I was watching. But she kept smiling. Inevitably we met and some had to give. So we did that little dance where we both moved alright, always in the same direction.
But she kept right on smiling, so I did too. I was certainly not going to be your typically unpleasant bargain hunter. We finally worked it out. Silently, grinning like Krazy Kat.
She reached out and picked up another pretty blouse, and this time she looked SO pleased. She liked it. Very lightly, she touched my arm. She held out the chosen piece and ask what I thought. (At least I hoped that was what she was doing because she spoke only Spanish, while I on the other hand knew only two phrases in Spanish: “¿Dónde está el baño de damas and cuánto cuesta?)
Neither seemed to fit the occasion. She as waiting. She asked again. The pressure was mounting.
Bueno? I ventured?
That did it. She practically swooned she was so happy. I, on the other hand, in fear of the idea that she might think I knew what I was saying, would continue the conversation, fled to the comparative safety of the LONG SLEEVE WOMEN’S BLOUSES $6.00 AND UP aisle.
Things didn’t get better for me. I wasn’t even slightly tempted to buy anything. Which is not a good thing. I really, really love finding something lovely hidden in the dross.
If I didn’t know how pleasant I just insist upon being, I would have to describe my mood as – GRUMPY.
Another light touch on my arm, and there she weas again, beaming a me. She was holding out a lovely pink and grey,, long-sleeved dress.
I said Bueno again and hoped for the best and she said “Si.” But she didn’t go away. She held out the dress to me. She gestured and postured and almost bowed until I understood. The dress was meant for me!
This time she actually did bow and she took hold of my arm and lead me toward the mirror on the wall. She pointed to the mirror. She pointed at me. She pointed at the dress and she bowed again. Still beaming.
I took the dress. I held it up to me and it was lovely. I checked the size. It was a four! Okay…I haven’t been a size four since the day after I was born. I stopped smiling at the mirror. I stopped smiling at the lady. I tried to hand the dress back to her. But her eyes lost their sparkle and her face didn’t beam any more, She looked so sad.
I checked the price. $8.00. A small price to pay for someone’s joy, I thought. I figured I could buy the dress. She would continue to be happy. I would continue to be flattered that she thought I could fit into it. That’s a lot of happiness for eight bucks. I could redonate next week.
But wait, as the saying goes…there’s more.
I brought the dress home, and just on a whim, I tried on the pretty size four. It fit. I stood and stared at the lady in the mirror. It was still moi, but I was WEARING A SIZE FOUR dress.
Expect to see a lot of this dress, I may only take it off every now and again to have it cleaned. Did I mention that for the eight bucks I got a pure silk dress from China? Well is was and I did.
You may not get to see all the delicate detail of the design because I plan to wear the dress in-side-out. Because this time the beauty isn’t in the eye of the beholder, It’s in the heart of a size eight woman wearing a size four dress that fits.
IN SEARCH OF CIVILATION
As you have probably noticed if you’ve read more than one of these Blogs, I am not inclined to take on deep, gloomy topics. There are enough people doing that already.
Right. Spoiler alert. I am about to get – DEEP.
I love the English language. I find it colorful and even beautiful sometimes. But those times are growing dramatically fewer.
Since starting on Facebook I have been delighted by some of the things people get excited about. Animals. The scenery that surrounds them. Their families. A trip to The Canyon. All kinds of things.
But I have also been appalled at the hate that I read everyday – the name calling where which people of all persuasions feel free to vilify anyone who takes a view opposite their own.
Theoretically we agree that free speech is one of the world’s – our world’s – great gifts. But we only seem to want it for folks who think as we think., Everyone else is fair game.
Believe me, abusing the opposition is no way to make someone see the reasonable, clear headed, rational being you are. It just reinforces something they already think they know about you: That you are narrow-minded, opinionated and unwilling to listen to any beliefs but your own.