I wish I loved to cook…and garden…and do house renovations. They are such useful pastimes to love. I know people who are never happier than when they can retreat to the kitchen at the end of the day and unwind by rustling up some delicious meal. Since I only get home from work at around 8.15 PM it’s a matter of what I can pull together in the shortest possible space of time. And I envy people who love grubbing in the dirt and creating wildly coloured, beautifully scented gardens. In my experience it is seldom anything but back-breaking hours with nothing to show for it, except a few less weeds. (Although, I have to say I do love growing a produce garden and making pesto from fresh basil or having flavourful grape tomatoes eagerly jumping into my hand when I go to pick them.) As for home renovations, I’ve never owned a house where I haven’t had to sand floors, paint walls, rip up tiles or carpets…and although the “before” and “after” are satisfying, the actual process is the furthest thing from therapeutic I can think of. Except for shopping. More than anything I wish I loved to shop.
Of all things that is such a useful thing to be good at. I know some really gifted shoppers. They have infallible intuition about just where to go for any imaginable article because they have happily browsed in shops for years. Or they can flit through a clothing shop with $50 and, in half an hour, pull together a mix and match wardrobe that will stand them in good stead for years. One time I joined a dear friend sitting on the floor in an upscale department store in jeans and sneakers trying on long gloves for a party she was going to. Shopping is a skill. And there’s the rub. One loves what one is good at. And I am without a doubt the very worst shopper.
We’ve just had a sudden cold spell that caught the forecasters (and, therefore, us) by surprise. On the way to work I thought I would quickly run into Marshalls to look at hats and earmuffs. I tried on one hat after another, achieving nothing but alarming static electricity in my hair. So I gave up on that, and I tried on some earmuffs. The first pair clamped onto my head everywhere except my ears. Then I found a pair that sort of fitted. I also picked up a some socks. Socks seemed safe. All of this took well over half and hour of dithering. Eventually I made my way to the till. The queue was not only very long but entirely static. After waiting for 5 or 10 minutes with no progress whatsoever, I put back my semi-fitting earmuffs and socks and walked out of Marshalls with nothing to show for the three-quarters of hour I had spent there.
And that’s not the worst! I had set my heart on a pair of cosy Bearpaw boots. Thinking I wouldn’t be able to afford the real thing, I hunted at Marshalls, Target and DSW. Eventually I found something that would do at Macy’s. Then I was at Nordstrom’s for something else and, just for grins, I looked in their shoe section there – and found really truly Bearpaws! They had my size in black – just what I wanted – and so I stood in another long line (I was determined this time) and bought them. This meant going back to Macy’s with my tail between my legs to return the other boots. I could hardly wait to show my new acquisition to DB. I put them on as soon as I got home … only to discover that I had two right feet. No matter how many times I tried each one on each foot there was no getting around the fact that I did not have one right boot and one left boot. So it was back to Nordstrom’s the next day, with visions of their not having any left feet and my having to go back to Macy’s for second best. My plan of action was to see if they had a left foot on the rack, swap it, and nobody needed to be any the wiser. No black boots. There were some brown ones, though…and they were all left boots. It very gradually dawned on this inept shopper that they only put out one of everything and you have to go to another desk at the back of the shop, ring the bell and ask for its pair! There are no signs to tell you this. At the Nordstrom Rack they assume they are dealing with skilled shoppers. Anyway, I went and exchanged one of my right boots for a left one and finally had a successful shopping experience. Surely nobody else every has to go through all the inept back and forth that I do to make what should really be a simple purchase! I’m just hopeless. But I have happy, warm feet now!