Although my sister and mom both live within driving distance – an hour and two hours away, respectively (that’s on a good day when the traffic gods cooperate. When they don’t, well, all bets are off), our schedules don’t allow us to get together too often.
This past Saturday when hubby was out of town with our boys – their way-delayed annual father’s day overnight – mom, Lynne and I had our sleepover, beginning with – what else – a shopping trip. If we were younger we would have been shopping for the likes of a classic sleepover costume but alas we were grown-ups and on the hunt for grown-up accessories. Why is it that every time we get together one of us “needs” to shop? But, you know, those friends & family sales at Lord & Taylor for boots. are tough to ignore, especially when you’re boot-aholics like us.
Nature or nurture? You decide.
“Let’s go before lunch,” I suggest. “This way, it won’t be so crowded.” Wrong. Who knew that everyone else would have that same idea?
We snag three seats – the only three available in the vast shoe department- carefully stepping over and around boxes strewn on the floor like toys mindlessly pushed aside in a child’s playroom. Customers mill around. Most vaguely resemble zombies in a trance; they weave gingerly and slowly (is there really any other choice?) through the cluttered maze, their eyes glazed over while their brains screams “TUNE OUT! TUNE OUT!”
So, why do I tell you this? Well, for one thing, I have to say that the nearly-two hours we sat there didn’t really phase me. I didn’t get impatient. I didn’t get bored. Sure, I tried on just about every size 9-1/2 boot that was in stock. But more than just that, sitting still gave me an opportunity to eavesdrop on life – something I rarely, if ever, get to do. And being the curious sort (some might call it nosy, I call it being a “keen observer of life”), I love to learn about what other people are wearing/saying/thinking/doing.
A couple of conversations I overheard:
Woman A: I don’t need a facelift; it’s my neck I can’t stand. I have these vertical bands that AGE me!
Woman B: So, what can be done about that?
Woman A: Well, a plastic surgeon I went to told me that he could cut the muscle, and the bands would disappear.
Woman B: What? Cut your neck? How could you do that?
Woman A: What’s the big deal? So what if I can’t talk or swallow? People can overlook a little drool, can’t they? At least… I’ll look younger.
(I don’t know if the above is entirely factual – either the procedure or its aftermath, or for that matter, her intent – but I do think there is a way to get rid of those “neck bands” and what she was saying might have been accurate.)
Woman C: I am so totally beside myself since K left for college. The pain is so intense, it feels like someone died. I just don’t know how I’m gonna get through this.
Woman D: Shopping helps.
(I know everyone copes with an empty-nest in their own way, but don’t you think this is a tad extreme? I want to tell Woman C that she will get through it, and she might actually learn to enjoy it. And to Woman D, I say: You’re
probably partially right.)
And to all my readers, I ask this question: Do you ever get a chance to sit back and observe life?
If you don’t, perhaps you should. It’s really a nice time-out. While not nearly as good as a vacation, it gives you a break from life and a unique perspective on it all at once.
Oh, and the boots I bought? They’re pretty cool. I might have to go back for another pair.