Walk a Mall in My Shoes
I missed the celebrations of the nation’s 233rd birthday, and, closer to home, Mill of the Gods third anniversary , because I was out walking the Mall. The soaring temperatures and my waist line being what it is, I have moved my daily walks inside, which is allowing me to walk further, more comfortably and, more importantly to learn more about summer clear out items in various stores.
As a rule, I don’t go to Malls. Of late, several restaurants in a newly opened outdoor mall in town have had me violating this rule. Beginning last week though, I having actually been haunting the old fashioned indoor mall. The kind with a food court and kiosks selling Dead Sea soap and containing Yankee Candle Company’s.
The nice thing about it (I guess) is that because of the economy, no one seems to ever be at this particular mall. Thus, I can walk a couple of miles at a decent pace by not only walking in the mall areas, but walking through the stores themselves.
For the first three or four days I simply noted items that looked interesting. After awhile I noticed that the sales that were being held really did seem like good deals. I found myself slowing down by half a step each time I walked by a particular shirt in Dillards that I admired. I probably passed it half a dozen times before I timed my walk to end right in front of the very rack it hung upon yesterday morning.
The fact that Dillards was opened on the Fourth of July was a abomination. I will not retread the steps I have gone into before, concerning my views that holidays should not only be for those who can afford to shop at nice stores, but for those who labor there also. It used to be that way, but, one by one, the nation’s holidays been taken away from those who most need them, the non-exempt(hourly) store employee and those who toil for the tip at the restaurant. We are rapidly approaching the day envisioned by Ebenezer Scrooge who felt that just because Christmas only came once a year, that was no excuse for “picking a man’s pocket every 25th of December.”
But back to the walking path. The shirt intrigued me. It intrigued me because it looked like it came right out of the closet of my fashion hero Charlie Sheen. Maybe not really Charlie, but the character he plays on the television show Two and a Half Men. Sheen. In that show, Sheen plays a writer of commercial jingles who works out of his condo on the beach at Malibu. I don’t particularly envy him that, although it is nice work if you can get it. What I envy is the fact that every day of his life he wears the same type clothes, a long untucked , tropical type shirt (often resembling a bowling shirt), a pair of shorts and some topsiders with no socks. I thought that maybe if I owned this particular shirt, I could start dressing like me hero Charlie Sheen and be as comfortable as he seems to be. I realized that I could not wear these things to work, but I could wear them everywhere else in an Austin summer (which lasts from February to October).
So there hanging before me was the shirt. It had been marked down by 20%, but those of us who walked past it twice a day knew that during the July 4 weekend, we could talk off an additional thirty percent which, means that,\ those of us with flashing calculators in our heads knew that you were paying only 30% of 80% of the list price of the shirt. Those who might know how to reduce fractions would know even more information, but I did not have time to hunt someone like that down. I looked at the shirt, sort of beige with a two tone brown which formed some type of tropical trees. A large pineapple on the inside collar told me that the shirt was made in the warm Pacific, and it was, if you count China as a tropical south sea island. The shirt was 70% silk and 30% cotton. I took two sizes into the dressing room and tried them on. To my delight, the smaller one fit.
But I still had to be careful. Years of experience have taught me that I seldom am congratulated at home after buying clothes. I am usually greeted with “Why would you buy a shirt that looks like all your other shirts ? “ or “did you even try that on?” Leaving aside the consistent comment that “you are going to get salsa on a $60 shirt”, the most harrowing question is, “How do you think that you would wash a shirt like that ? “ Which means that I have once again managed, through my ignorance of fabrics ,to add to my already dizzying dry cleaning bill.
So I was very careful. First I thought, hard. Seemed to me like I had brought home a silk shirt once before and gotten in trouble for it. But this was different, it was cotton and silk. That seemed promising. I know we wash cotton stuff at home. I have seen it come out of the dryer, or at least get piled up on the bed. I then did something I never do, I checked the tag. There it was, “Machine Washable in cold water.” Now instructions are not always a safe harbor. That very morning I had followed the instructions on the back of a waffle mix to the letter and produced batter which looked like rainwater. That was easily remedied. For the shirt, I had to be sure. You can’t just add more cotton to a shirt to make it thicker.
I went up to the sales woman and after commiserating with her over the fact that she was working until 6:00 on Independence Day, I asked her how I should clean this particular shirt. She did not bat an eye. “In the regular wash with cold water, no problem.” Here she held up the shirt by its sleeves and carefully looked at it, front and back.. “Say, this is a nice shirt, sort of going for a Charlie Sheen look are you ?” Now here was someone I could talk to. All of my fears vanished. I bought the shirt and had to restrain myself from buying several more of the same brand. Wonder what time they close today ? I took the shirt home and put on my full and complete Charlie Sheen uniform. I looked snappy. Just like Charlie, if Charlie was about 60 pounds overweight and had gray hair and was not handsome.
Within a few minutes my wife called and invited me to lunch with her and our daughter. The first test. I walked up to a suspicious look on Rayda’s part, “How are you going to wash that ?” she said, which really meant “How am I going to wash it because I can’t get you near the dirty clothes hamper ?” “Cold water” I raved. “Says so on the shirt and was confirmed by a highly intelligent saleswoman.” “Well, said Rayda, “the shorts don’t go with it, and don’t order anything in here which requires you to dip bread into olive oil. “ I did not, as of now the shirt is lying in a dirty clothes hamper without a spot on it. The big test to follow .Keep your fingers crossed.