Photo Credit: http://images.clipartof.com/small/21588-Clipart-Illustration-Of-Three-Silhouetted-Long-Haired-Women-Wearing-Colorful-And-Fashionable-Clothes-And-Taking-Long-Strides-While-Shopping-In-A-Mall.jpg
I consider myself very lucky to have a mother-in-law who offers to watch little E for a couple of hours a week so that I can have some me time. I am able to go wherever I like, without having to drag the babe, the diaper bag, the stroller, and all other necessary debris (I don't consider the babe debris btw). While a disciplined woman might choose the gym for her desired destination, and the true intellectual woman might like the library, my idea of extra-curricular is much more involved. Like the true girl that I am, out of the many places I can choose, I relish my weekly trip to the mall!
The mall is like that great novel we cannot wait to read, or that lofty fitness goal we plan to achieve. Actually, it's the unrequited love of my life: my land of possibilities, where anything can happen. When I enter, I have to take a breath and exhale slowly to calm myself and slow my racing thoughts (which are always rattling through all the possible places to visit and things to buy)!
However, along with that great exhilaration I feel when I shop, right there beside it, trying to overshadow it every time, is the realization that I cannot possess everything; I will never be truly satisfied. While the mall is the place of possibilities, our tryst has limits.
One such limit is money. I am not rich; my disposable income (especially while on maternity leave) is often negligible. And so, I stare at my objects of desire longingly through windows, wondering what if; maybe one day, I might finally possess them. This is the longing that keeps me coming back, yet makes me feel so heartbroken.
Then there's the other patrons; the ones who have impeccable style, who are completely up-to-date in all things style. They, too, break my heart. I find myself staring at them in awe. How do they do that? How can they afford to be so fashionable? Oh were I them, only for a day, I'd truly know satisfaction then. Looking at them, then down at my grubby apparel, (in which I had previously felt super cute), I reconsider my style. I spend the hours lusting after the well-dressed, practically harassing them with my stares, dreaming about what it would be like to have just a piece of what they have. Ah l'amore.
I simply want what I cannot have. I go from store to store, fixating on item after item, often trying to emulate the fashionista I passed on my journey. If I had this, oh my skin would just glow. If I wore those, my ass would finally defy gravity. If I find those perfect boots I saw on that impeccably dressed woman, then I'd feel good in my winter wear.
The store clerks, optimistically hoping I will be their next great customer, their big commission, pay more attention to me than my own husband does. I lap it all up: the compliments, the lines. The words upon which a true affair is built. Only when they realize I am not going to be their meal ticket does their affection abruptly turn cold. And I am left to move on...
When my limited two hours are up and it is time for me to leave my scornful lover, feeling very much ungratified, I think, while I couldn't get my satisfaction this trip, there is always next time. For isn't shopping and fashion really partially the thrill of the chase -- the perfect purchase -- the nearly attainable?
And so I will return next week, exhilarated and lustful, in hopes that maybe this week, I will be truly satisfied.
p.s. while I do love to shop, this is a hyperbolic, ironic piece. Enjoy!