Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What Happens When You Shop with Boys

Every Christmas
, Guy and I make each other a special ornament. Each year has been different, but surprisingly on certain years the ornaments we have made for each other have been amazingly similar. I guess we are becoming one of those couples that shares a brain.

This year, I wanted to make Guy an ornament out of Swarovski crystals. Well, when I realized how expensive that would be, something like buck a bead, I settled for mostly glass beads from Michael's. But in the end, the ornament lacked something. It needed a little extra pizazz (make jazz hands here). So I headed for bead Mecca; The Bead Fetish.

Guy had shopping to do as well, so I dumped the girls on him, “I can’t take them to where I’m going. They’ll get into things” I weaseled. I headed off with the boys.

You would have to see this place to appreciate it. Even a photo of it can’t give you the real-deal-feel. An extra dozen tables have been crammed in since the tidy picture was taken, topped with millions of trays of beads from all around the world. The air hangs heavy with sweet incense, Tibetan music crowds your head, and other shoppers with muffin tins in hand crowd the rest of you. Billowing silks hang low from the ceiling almost touching your head, and an odd, loud shopkeeper who is donned as brightly as the room, willingly - but somehow slightly annoyed-ly, helps customers figure out how to make their ideas work, from a table parked right in the middle of the hullabaloo (you’re welcome, Stephanie).

When you go shopping for beads one at a time (as opposed to in packages) the world takes on a whole new focus. You can be there for hours. We only fed the meter for one hour, so we didn’t have the luxury of endless meandering. Besides, the boys were shot the first 15 minutes. “Can we be done? I’m bored!”

I was not finding my “pizazz”, and I was getting frustrated.

(OK. The stage has been set. This is what happened next.)

I didn’t notice her come in, but my attention that had been hyper-focused on pea sized sparklies was refocused by the sudden tone of the shopkeeper’s voice. “Honey,” she said, pretending to be nice but sounding a bit rude, “You need to keep your money in your pocket. Don’t leave it there.” I looked up to see a little black woman, about 50, piled in so many layers of clothes it was clear she was homeless. A thrift-store tag hung against her forehead from under two hats. She looked confused -maybe chemically induced, if you know what I mean.

The shopkeeper persisted, convincing the woman to pick up a wad of bills from the bead bins, and then walked back to a wall to very conspicuously watch the homeless woman’s every move.

Meter. No time for a show. I had to get my pizazz and get outta there to avoid a $30 ticket. I refocused my attention on beads.

“MA’AM!” The shopkeeper suddenly boomed. “Ma’am you can’… you have to… you can’t take your clothes off in here! Ma’am, get dressed or I am going to have to call the police!”

I guess ma’am had gotten overheated, what with all her layers. I took a step back to see around the column that separated us (because, well, heck. I was curious! I mean was she really...???).

Yup. She was. From the waist up. Completely.

Ethan and Adam began to follow my lead, and I cautioned, “Don’t look unless you want an education about what gravity does to older boobies.” I smiled.

They tried not to look, honest they did. They just couldn’t help it. Each in turn stepped back, peeked, and jumped back into place like the warden was coming.

“Ha! I told you!” I laughed softly to them. “Ya’ had to look, didn’t ya?”

“I only saw her back!” Ethan insisted, looking relieved. Adam confirmed this with vigorous head nodding. They were shaken. I couldn’t contain my enjoyment at their reactions.

Apparently in the next few moments there was a scuffle as the woman got dressed, grabbed some strings of beads, shoved them down her top, and ran out of the store. We subsequently learned that, due to her publicly-proven bra-less state, the beads had all dropped to the ground as she fled. The shop was a buzz. This, we were told by a clerk, was the most exciting thing that had ever happened here.

I explained to the boys about the effects of drugs and alcohol on a person’s inhibitions and common sense, and together we shared a moment of feeling rather badly for the little woman. It had been funny, but sort-of not, once we got to talking about it. I was proud of their attitudes. They wished they could somehow help her.

It was so many lessons, all in one.

On Christmas Eve, Guy and I exchanged our ornaments. It turns out, he made me a lovely beaded Christmas tree, with beads from the very same shop. Apparently, except for the girls getting scolded a lot by the loud shopkeeper for touching things, nothing all that exciting happened to him on his trip.

That’s because you have to go shopping with boys.


rebekahmott said...

Wow what a lesson that would be. I don't think My boys would quite get the same lesson. But I agree shopping with boys is a different ball game that girls. LOL

Jackie said...

I love your description! I was there! My heart aches for the homeless. We saw many in London when I went as a kid and I just felt so sorry. Makes me grateful for an organized life.