Photo by Patty Michels
The other day my Significant Other spotted something at Brown Elephant.
“Look,” she said, “a time clock.”
“As opposed to a space clock?” I rejoined, showcasing my aptitude for humorous observations. I know, how much fun would I be to date? With me no redundancy goes unnoticed. For every misused word, I supply a superior alternative. If, for example, you are splayed across the bathroom floor, damp with fever and confide you feel “nauseous,” like Florence Nightingale, I’ll nurse your word use back to health: “You mean, nauseated,” I’ll coo.
“No,” SO said, “it’s literally a time clock.”
Hearing the word ‘literally,’ I readied my sledgehammer, but not only had she used the word correctly, the device she referred to was actually an old fashioned time clock used for punching in at work.
I can’t tell you how much I wanted to buy it. How great would that be? Wake up, drink my coffee, change into my work pajamas and punch in? I’d totally make the dog and the werewolf punch in too. Maybe the scooter and the Christmas tree as well. They’re seasonal help, but they still count. But I didn’t, because buying some potentially broken gadget when you have yet to repay your student loans is probably irresponsible. Buying a sequin dress, however? Totally different story, a cautionary one in fact. About the dangers of Seasonal Affective Disorder. And Working From Home. And Whiskey.
Things you need to know:
1. I don’t drink. Ever notice how when you do drink, no one asks you to justify it? I on the other hand have been challenged so habitually I start shrugging and apologizing even before I’m asked. My reasons include:
-Expense, (see above re student loans)
-Obnoxiously Delicate Body Chemistry (My body responds to substances from sugar to caffeine to alcohol as if the substance were a side-eye and my body were a Real Housewife.)
-A general need to control everything at all times (See above re so much fun to date.)
2. I’m in the midst of some major downtime right now. Lots of deadlines met, and weeks to wait before I begin teaching my mind-blowing Story Studio novel writing courses which promise to make you wealthy beyond your wildest dreams and also clear your nasal passages. (Results may vary). In other words, the only things standing between me and a postapocalyptic nightmare of the sort described by Cormac McCarthy are "30 Rock" episodes on Netflix instant.
3. I believe feminism is about choices, and I choose to be a disgrace to feminism. Except that it’s not exactly a choice. See, I pretty much exemplify every sexist myth about PMS. Picture the most offensive commercial aired during the Super Bowl concerning the difference between men and women. Hello, my life. The other night for example, in the space of little more than thirty seconds I said this to SO:
“I want chocolate cake I’m so fat I want chocolate cake are you bored of me whatever I’m going to be so famous I won’t even remember your name what happens when we die?”
In other words, I’m not sanity’s poster girl. I’ll leave that to Courtney Love.
So, although I’m broke, I decided a night out with a friend was warranted. (Read: my SO told me I was upsetting the dog and I needed to leave for a while.) My friend and I went to Mary's Rec Room!, which was awesome mainly because their tables have bottle caps on them. Not like a server didn’t properly clear between customers, but like, the caps are lodged under a layer of laminate. I couldn’t get over it, which might have been because I hadn’t left the house in weeks. Swept up in bottle cap excitement, I ordered a whiskey, the only kind of alcohol I really like. I have a friend who says it makes her feel like a senator, but to me, it tastes like cream soda, so I guess it makes me feel like a small town boy in the 1950’s, the kind of guy who might grow up to become a senator. Whoa. Full circle.
After dinner, my friend said she wanted to go shopping. (Not the senator friend, the friend I was with. For the sake of simplicity I considered eliding them but we all saw what happened to Vivian Gornick and James Frey.)
“Akira is probably open,” I said. “But you have to be anorexic to shop there. Or Lady Gaga. Or, I guess, both would work too.” Despite the lashing wind I felt pleasantly warm. Clearly, I’d developed the ability to heat my body using the power of my mind.
Down the street at Akira, I instantly found the dress of my slutty, drag queen dreams. Bypassing the navy and champagne version (Navy sequins are pointless, the sartorial equivalent of taking a spinning class while eating onion rings.), I went straight for the red and black.
“I feel like Kim Kardashian,” I told my friend, as I emerged from the changing room wearing the dress plus the nude, porn-y platforms a dapper salesclerk had supplied.
“Oh, you can wear Spanx,” the clerk said. “I won’t let you leave without it.”
“What do you really think?” I pulled at my friend’s arm.
“Are you comfortable in something that short?”
“Short is fine, but do I look fat I want chocolate cake I’m so fat I want chocolate cake are you bored of me whatever I’m going to be so famous I won’t even remember your name what happens when we die?”
“Nothing. Can you hold it?” I asked the clerk.
“Against policy,” he whispered.
“Those sequin dresses sell like that.” Another clerk snapped her fingers indicating the speed or maybe the sound of a sale.
“Well, what’s your return policy?”
Things you need to know:
1. I am never swayed by sales clerk pressure.
2. Once more than a decade ago I took Xanax for about a week during which time I went through $1000.
3. I love meatloaf. (Okay, that you didn’t so much need to know.)
At the counter I whipped out my rarely used credit card and watched the clerk swipe it. The whole exchange felt hazy, easy in an far-off way.
“I never do this,” I told my friend. “Drop one hundred bucks on a Barbie dress when I can barely pay my rent? I feel guilty when I buy ink cartridges, like maybe I should print with something cheaper; diluted tea or my own blood. I have rules about groceries: Peanut butter is fine, but jelly is superfluous. I’m literally going to starve to death because of this dress.”
“I doubt you’ll literally starve,” she said. And that’s when I knew.
“I’m drunk!” I told her. “That’s why this is so easy.”
“On half a whiskey?”
“Whatever.” I clutched my garment bag to my chest. “I’m going to be so famous I won’t even remember your name.”
“I think you’ve had too much excitement,” she said, patting my arm. “Let’s get you home.”
So, I guess the moral is, Don’t Drink and Shop or maybe just Women Can’t be President. I’m kidding, they totally can. But if I see a Menstrual Hut on sale at Brown Elephant I’m seriously buying it.
A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for a number of web sites and print publications. Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," (Soft Skull press) is available for pre-order here. She is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
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