Whenever I go shopping, I always keep an eye out for clothes that my adult daughter might like, because:
- She looks great in clothes, so it’s fun to dress her, and
- I prefer shopping for her far more than for myself, and
- Clothes for 20-somethings who work in Boston are much cuter than clothes for 50-somethings who write in the woods of Maine.
My daughter wears a very small size — a size I haven’t worn since I was 14 years old. However, I can always tell what will work on her by taking clothes into a changing room and holding them up in a mirror.
One day, I pushed my cart filled with clothes for myself and for my daughter to the fitting rooms at our local discount clothing chain.
Like most stores, a sales clerk has to count through the number of items you have and give you a corresponding number.
On this particular day, a very thin, energetic sales woman took my items one-by-one to count, but paused to study them as well.
“That looks comfy!” and “Love that blue!” she declared each time.
I found it a little unnerving, but appreciated the support… until she got to the pile I had selected for my daughter.
“Ohmygawd! These are never going to fit you!” she announced at full volume.
I swear, at least 10 people turned around and stared at me.
“They’re for my daughter,” I mumbled and grabbed them out of her hand.
Through the years, this woman seemed to be stationed at the dressing rooms almost every time I entered that store. You could hear her voice continuously across the racks of discounted knit tops and yoga pants hollering, “Hey good looking!” and “Awesome knee socks!” to people passing by.
I realize we all have to do what we need to do to keep our spirits up, but this live-out-loud lady scared me.
I dreaded going to the dressing room whenever she was on duty, and risk further public humiliation. Instead, I often opted to buy clothes outright for my daughter and me, returning them later if they didn’t fit. An inconvenient solution, but a safe one.
Then one day, I noticed she hadn’t been on duty in a long time, and I soon found out she no longer worked there.
For awhile I felt guilty about how relieved I was to hear of her departure. But eventually, I convinced myself she had found a far better job for someone with her unique personality – like softball coach or reality TV star. And I stopped feeling guilty, or even thinking about her at all.
Until last fall.
My husband and I had recently moved into our new house in our new neighborhood. It was a chilly November day and I was walking the dog down our new street to our new park.
Suddenly, a window on the third floor of an apartment building above me slammed open and a very thin, energetic body popped out into the cold windy air.
“Hey!! I’ve never seen a dog like that!! What is it?!”
I swear, at least 10 people turned around and stared at us.
Needless to say, I now prefer to take the long way to the park.