Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 28th 2015 Contents A31
Monday, September 28, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
You know how people have recurring night
frights about planes crashing or being caught
naked in public places?
Not me. My bad dream is being trapped
between rows and rows of Jimmy Choos or
Diane von Furstenberg gowns in a huge sale
and not being able to buy anything.
Imagine the pain of it all, like a metal hook
being dragged through the intestines.
As I was on vacation last month, my phobia
came to life---in Macy s One-Day Sale, which
is like the Holy Grail of shopping for non-
heiresses. There I was, in one of the biggest
malls in Florida, with my store map, credit
cards, and a nice bundle of foreign currency
in my faithful leopard-print wallet.
I had done my research too---checked online
for what was cute in kick-ass suits (the less
uptight successor to power suits of the
Nineties) and casual cotton-blend jackets,
although the aider and abettor (otherwise
known as the Master of the Coin) whom I
had brought along to hold my handbag while
I went into the changing rooms felt he had
to point out I already had one in every colour.
Having shed some pounds recently and punished
my mid-section into retreat, I was ready to reap
the benefits of my labour (and possibly the labour
of the Master of the Coin because I had his best
plastic friend as back-up in the aforesaid wallet)
and I was properly equipped to shop till I dropped.
Well, the drop happened. Five hours later, I was
a soggy mess on a bench in the mall courtyard.
The shopping, however, had been deleted from
what I now believe was an extra-terrestrial expe-
"I can t find anything," I bawled. As I wandered
and wandered through the 65 per cent markdown
racks, my eyes burned with salty tears and my
lower lip quivered like a hummingbird on crack.
The Master of the Coin knitted his brows. His
eyes questioned, "Nothing? In the whole store?
"This never happens to me, I whimpered.
A Starbucks visit was prescribed, so I could
recalibrate, but by then my brain was in distress,
having been zapped with no-shopping gamma
rays by aliens. When the cashier threw me into
overload by asking me what kind of milk I wanted
in my brew, I just about burst into sobs and told
her I was having a really hard day. Clearly, she
was an angel sent to combat the evil aliens because
she smiled (that chick knew an anxiety attack
when she saw one) and wrote "steamed soymilk
on my order.
The harmful gamma rays were still operating
as I tried to console myself in trendy boutiques
on all three floors of the mall. Nothing looked like
me. Nothing spoke to me. And the Fall collections
were already out, which meant thick sweaters and
moody colours more suitable for grumpily shivering
by a radiator than for sashaying through a tropical
Not even Diane Von Furstenberg in Blooming-
dale s could break the spell. I had found exactly
what I had sketched in my head---a dramatic black
and white, long-sleeved, jersey maxi dress. And
it was in my new size.
But with all due respect to the Wrap Queen,
you can t expect a woman under alien attack to
knot and twist and pull a belt through a hole here
and tie stuff there in order to get herself into fab-
ulousness. I left the destroyed tie-me-up fantasy
in a sad bundle in the dressing room and fled
before I got expelled from the fashion police soror-
ity.A look of panic flashed across the face of the
Holder of the Handbag/Master of the Coin as I
re-emerged empty handed and weepy. Sensibly,
he said nothing but steered me in the direction
of a shoe store, and allowed the moths to fly out
of the sacred purse. Thirty minutes later, I was
reasonably stable and the owner of a pair of cute
zebra Aerosoles, and some snakeskin lace-ups.
The emergency action averted an impending
tantrum of cataclysmic proportions.
The minute I landed back home, I ran to a mall
for a check-up, to see if my shopping muscles
had been permanently damaged. I was relieved to
discover that the paralysis I had experienced in
Florida was temporary. Aliens, apparently, do not
• Tell Elsa your shopping nightmares at wrenchel-
The worst nightmare ever
The Keeping Room
feminism in Civil War---A38
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