I am not a big fan of clothing. I mean, I’m not a huge fan of nakedness either, its just that I’m not a huge fan. I’m a fan alright. I’d take being clothed over necked nine times out of ten (the tenth being when I am sleeping and then I think sheets count as clothes by proxy). But I just normally don’t get excited about a specific article of clothing.
However, for my birthday, my sister got me a sweatshirt. And this wasn’t your standard sweatshirt. This was a swanky, fleece lined number that felt like I was slipping inside the freshly sheared coat of a lamb.
There was one problem: sometime in the last ten years all the trendy stores switched to emo sizing. What I mean is that no longer is a large the baggy, oversized large of the nineties, a large is now a emo-sized large that doesn’t quite reach my wrists and fits snugly around my stomach.
This was a remediable situation, however, and I remedied it. I entered the trendy store that features the commercials with happy people singing in scarves and attempted to perform a simple exchange. And the exchange attempt fiasco is the reason that I hate malls.
By a fortuitous coincidence, I parked the mall at the entrance closest to the store I wanted to enter. This occurred completely by chance because my general tactic upon turning into the mall parking lot complex/circle-of-death is to find the first aisle I can to turn down and park as quickly as possible so as to avoid the general craziness of mall-bound/departing drivers. And so it just so happened that this entrance was adjacent to the store at which I was to return said sherpa sweatshirt.
Yet, I should have known that modern shopping would not be so simple. The cashier informed me that while I could surely exchange the sweatshirt for a larger size to accommodate by non-Jimmy Eat World style preferences, I could also return it and use the credit for a sweater during the current buy-one-get-one sale. In a moment of weakness I almost acquiesced, but I held fast after looking at the fleece lined hood of the sweatshirt.
The cashier proceeded to radio another clerk upon which I embarked on the experience I hope to be the closest experience to having a personal shopper as I ever have. The clerk guided me to the rack of sweatshirts, and despite the fact that I found a size up (albeit a slightly difference color) she proceeded to gather three or so shirts and hold them up for me.
This one might work. She was not fazed. Actually I think this one right here is the right size. She acted like she did not hear me as she flew through the rack of sweatshirts. Here, I’ll just try this one on and see if it’ll work. I think I’ll like it. In perhaps her most impressive instance of unwavering fortitude, she saw my point and countered with: Well I think that is all we have on this rack let me go check and see if there are more out front.
By the time she returned I had decided (five minutes ago) that the sweatshirt was a go. She however, would not go down so easily and asked me to go look at yourself in the mirror out front. I thought it was okay and attempted to brush her off when she implored me to go check in the front mirror. Worried that I looked a fool in the sweatshirt, I finally obliged and found my appearance superbly normal.
At this point I was done playing games and told her I was going to exchange it for this one and promptly moved the game forward by inquiring: Now do you need to scan this one out, or can I just leave the old one with you and take it. For I had worked at Kohl’s for years and the even exchange was possible without the use of modern technology. She smiled as if a four-year-old had just proposed something impossibly stupid in a genuine manner.
Finally she walked me down to the computer where I again, felt like an over pampered personal shopper as she took me to the front of the line to complete my transaction. Oh, she said, they must have gotten this on sale. My sister is a savvy shopper, I would not have been surprised. However, I did not see how this piece of information had any bearing on our current course of action. There is a difference of seventeen dollars. Again, I didn’t really care but it became apparent to me that the clerk expected me to care. I tell you what, I will just correct the difference.
I wasn’t sure if we were narrating the obvious right now, or if this was supposed to be perceived as a transcendent act of grace, but I finally acknowledged the “situation” and thanked her for doing that. She said it was not problem, which again made me wonder if we were narrating the obvious. I was tempted to say: Well thanks again for letting me exchange one item nearly identical to another with all of the tags and requisite documentation as required by said transaction. What a modern wonder of charity you are running here. I will tell all my friends about this great deal and maybe they will also find the dumb luck that I stumbled upon. But I refrained.
More importantly, I walked out of the store with the appropriately sized sweatshirt. And it was awesome. I wore the sweatshirt for the rest of the night. When I had to get slightly more gussied up for the holiday activities I would be partaking in, I layered the sweatshirt on again as a sort of coat. And it was awesome.
Like I said, I’m not a big fan of clothing, but I became a big fan of this sweatshirt. It was weighty enough that it reminded me of the comforting lead vest the dentist provides be with pre x-ray. The hood is spacious enough that with the neck just slightly unzipped, I can softly cover my head and feel like I’m swimming in a sort of peripheral pillow. The fleece lining, as described above, was so soft that I frequently gave into the continuous urge to rub my cheek against it sheep shorn softness.
And I don’t like clothing. But I liked this shirt. So much so that it was worth the above experience and actually, made it all strangely endearing.