I walked into a glitzy store at the mall. The music thumped through the brightly lit interior, beautiful teenagers and their inquisitive mothers necklaced themselves around the scattered racks. Nathan and Mike were stationed at the playarea outside. I had TJ strapped in the baby carrier. I had some money to spend on work clothes and Mike insisted that I not go to the thrift store and instead buy clothes–new ones, ones that no one had ever worn before! Fancy times in this house!
A young saleswoman came up and asked if I was finding everything all right, which just means, “Please do not ask me for anything.” I held back from telling her that I was not finding everything all right. I wanted to tell her that the shoes I buy for my post-partum feet are found in the men’s section. I baked blueberry scones but they were so bland and tasteless that I would have had more flavor if I had just scooped a cup of cornstarch into my mouth. I cannot remember the title of the thesis I wrote for my senior honors class in Victorian literature but I can spout off lines from Judge Judy as if I am really giving legal advice (“‘UM’ is not an answer!”) So no, young saleswoman, I am NOT finding everything all right.
I asked her where the “professional” clothing was. I was looking for skirts I could wear at work. She paused, looked around and said, “Well, we sell ones like what I’m wearing!” She pointed to the thin swath of jersey fabric she wore as a skirt, as if she mistook what I meant by “professional.”
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