Retail TherapySpring is officially here, and my Depression is over — just in time for me to feel everything I'm feeling about the war in Iraq. It's a difference between simply feeling down, weepy and sorry for myself and tired, and feeling so many things all at once, fear and anger and frustration and sorrow and more anger and a skosh more fear, that I cannot process it. Either way I feel emotionally awful, but now there is an intensity.
There's a funny old t-shirt saying that has always stood me in good stead: When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Go Shopping. Actually, I always thought "tough" should be "squirrely." The going is pretty squirrely right now, and I'm feeling pretty squirrely. So I went shopping. At lunchtime yesterday, I had to go to the bank to make a deposit for the office, and I had a package to send to the attorney; since the bank and attorney are two blocks apart from each other, and since I could fit City Center and Kaiser Center into the route, and since it was a beautiful sunny warm day, I decided to walk it and shop.
It's twelve blocks from my office to City Center; I stopped first at the Goodwill Store and fondled a lot of sad leavings, but found that rarest of treasures: a flannel shirt that is not plaid. It has been my lifelong quest to find flannel shirts that are not plaid. Love flannel, hate plaid. So far in this lifetime I've found three nonplaid flannel shirts (none of which fit me now, due to the shirt shrinking or my growth). But in the Goodwill Store I came across a length of flannel, white with sunny yellow stripes, fashioned into a size XXL long-sleeved button-down-collared shirt. Joy!
Then I shuffled up the block and across the street to The Gap. It was one of those unfortunate times when there aren't any really great sales going on, but I was desperate to buy, and so I spent a fairly long time there finding things I really wanted that were worth the price printed on the tag. Also Caroline called and I joined the ranks of those hateful people who talk on their cell-phones while going about the day-to-day business of life. Not that anyone could be disturbed by me talking, as I was consistently drowned out by the edgy indie music that was blaring down from the ceiling. I eventually ended up leaving with two trimmed t-shirts (mustard piped with navy and dark slate piped with black), a brick-red rugby shirt with white collar and navy chest-stripe, and a pair of cement-color Classic Khakis in my new (but temporary!) waist-size.
Then I did my work-business and made my way back to the office by a different route than I'd come, craving ice-cream but not passing an ice-cream shop, so I ended up getting a Häagen-Dazs ice-cream bar along with a turkey sandwich at my usual lunch-place around the corner before I finally made it back to my desk. Once there I still couldn't really concentrate on doing any work, so I just did a bare minimum of maintenance-effort, faxing a couple of documents as requested and answering the phones and leaving a check for the cleaning-lady. Then I left, and hit a favorite consignment shop on Piedmont Ave as I made my way home.
At Sophisticated Lady I decided to buy a beaded-and-pailleted black and silver tunic that I'd seen there before but had considered too frumpy, a waistless asymmetrical number that is a little too reminiscent of Liza Minelli. But it does sparkle and flash a good deal (it also rattles), and I'm sure I'll find some way of looking good in it. Besides, it's always good to have a fat-dress in reserve in case I put on a bunch more weight. I also bought an absolutely dreamy silver-beaded azure-blue cocktail dress that is two sizes too small for me but will fit and look fabulous on a certain someone I know; so she will be getting a pretty new dress for her birthday unless I manage to come down with mononucleosis and drop forty pounds in the next month.
Once I got home, I met Caroline who helped me get the dead mouse out of my garage (enjoying the operation with rather more relish than one expects from a girl) before we went out to dinner at Señor Nero's, a lovely new Mexican restaurant on Grand Avenue (actually, the restaurant was in its previous Montclair location for eons, so I guess it's not really a new restaurant so much as an old restaurant in a new location... but then, the location is a converted pre-WWI house, so you couldn't really call the location new, either... so it's an old restaurant in an old location that is different from it's previous location).
And to add the final fillip of satisfaction to my day of retail therapy, we stopped at Walden Pond Books, my favorite source for used literature (their new literature is too avant-garde for my taste, or rather it's a little to untested to spend full cover price). There I picked up The Nancy Mitford Omnibus (containing four complete serial novels including my long-time favorite Love In A Cold Climate), Michael Chabon's much-praised The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, hardcover first editions of Quentin Crisp's The Naked Civil Servant and How to Become a Virgin, Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin (mostly because of the cover-art), and an obscure gay comic novel by Bob Herron called Moritz!, as well as two copies of a large paperback art-book on costume jewelry (one for myself and one for fellow-collector and coworker JB).
I considered taking pictures of everything I bought, but I don't have time right now. I have to do some housework, then go to a rehearsal, and then if I have time drop by Jhames' new digs and say "Hi" with a mango mousse cake. But if I do find the time, I'll take and upload pictures later, so check back.
When I got home, the war was still raging; when I flip channels I still see media representations that make my blood freeze and boil by turns — but at least I have nice books to read and some new outfits to wear. I didn't solve any of the world's problems, but I feel a little better. And that's all I can ask of $300 worth of stuff.