Isn’t it amazing how quickly a day can change from one of the smoothest experiences you’ve ever had to the biggest downer of the century? Actually, I bet it’s not that amazing because I’m guessing that most of us have those kinds of days several times a month. Maybe more. And if you don’t, we need to have a chat, because I need to learn your every secret. You have evidently mastered life and I must emulate you in every way possible. I hope to someday become one of you. But until then, I must dwell in the land of mediocrity and trudge my way through the ups and downs of life as gracefully as I can without causing myself (or any others) any harm.
I suppose it’s not too crazy to think that everyone is aware that spring has sprung and the hell that is summer is just around the bend. Now, I have to admit up front that summer is my second favorite season (spring still kicks it’s ass in so many ways) but it has truly become my personal hell. Not because of searing temperatures or the very real possibility that I will somehow succeed in willingly giving myself skin cancer, but because I will probably want to wear shorts. In public. It doesn’t seem like such a wild idea does it? Millions of people around the world wear shorts on the regular and somehow I am not one of them. I am barely two years out of the first summer I never even wore one pair of shorts and I’m afraid that I might be heading that way again.
I assure you that I am not going down this road because it makes me happy to be covered up. No, I am much more selfless than that. This is all for you, my friends, because I don’t want you to have to see me with my pasty legs covered in longish shorts that ride up my inner thighs the second I start walking. Add the pool of sweat that gathers along my lower back (and behind my knees) and I am a walking health hazard that must be avoided at all costs. It’s a shame really, because I love, love, love to wear shorts. But it’s even worse than that. I also love to wear short sleeved shirts. The kind that end right at the top of my shoulder—they’re the shirt, oh hey, the shit—and I love them very much. Combine my doughy arms with the drooping fat that could knock a nine year old off a bike (and has) with the aforementioned shorts and I have created the ultimate summer disaster.
Believe it or not, I actually go into the spring months with a very positive frame of mind. Especially if I’ve managed to have a good winter and lose a few pounds. When that happens, life is very good and I’m whistling through life like I’m Dick Van Dyke. However, if I’ve had one of those winters where I have only managed to enlarge the dent in my all too comfortable couch, I know that I am looking at a not so fun summer experience. I think that you can tell, by the tone of my voice, what kind of summer I’m looking forward to this year.
I’d like to say that I tried my best to get into the best possible summer shape that I could, but that would be a lie. I did great with my exercise for a month or so and then I took a day off here and a day off there and before I knew it, it was March and I had gained some weight. It was agony for me to realize that I was failing at my goal. And it wasn’t even all that lofty of a goal–just to lose enough weight and be in just good enough shape that I could make it through a day of hiking or playing at a theme park and still get out of bed the next day without lurching around like Frankenstein. Maybe be able to actually fit into the cute shorts I bought at the end of last summer (that were one size lower than what I was currently wearing) in the hopes that I would fit in them this year. Nope. Uh-uh. Didn’t even come close. Up yours, Ben and Jerry.
By April I was feeling pretty unhappy with myself but I still wanted to feel that I could be cute and wear shorts in the summertime. However, I wasn’t so excited with the prospect of going to the mall and picking out clothes that were a) bigger than I was hoping for and 2)super expensive for items that I may or may not be able to fit into by June. There was really only one thing to do–make a day of visiting the thrift shops.
I actually love shopping at thrift shops around my neighborhood. There are so many great clothes that I can get for such a small amount of money. If I don’t have my nose in the racks of capri pants and short sleeved blouses at least once a week I get a little woozy. I’m there so often that some of the employees know me by name (oh, okay, it’s because I know them from the library, but whatever)! When I say it was time to make a day of visiting the thrift shops I’m actually saying that I went all around town (and specifically to higher income neighborhoods) to get my clothes buying on. All day.
It starts off sounding like a great idea until you actually try to do it, and it’s really amazing how many moods are perpetuated in a six hour time span. Especially when you eat any kind of food between one store visit and another. Or you’re tired. Or you’ve seen way too many pairs of bell-bottomed corduroy pants and nautical themed plus size blouses to last a lifetime.
And so, “Thrift Day” started off really promising. I somehow convinced my mom to join me in my shopping orgy and she didn’t have any issue with me driving her all over metropolitan Denver in my quest for the perfect pair of .99 cent whatevers. It was nice to have someone that would more than likely to encourage me to go ahead and spend the extra two dollars for a nice jacket. She was just the kind of cheerleader I needed. We hoped into the car and began our quest.
I decided to start with the store that was furthest from my home and work my way back. Might as well be efficient and thrifty at the same time. I talked to, at, and all around my mother the entire trip until I was sure that she was ready to throw herself from my car into oncoming traffic. Either she doesn’t mind me talking her to death or she’s just really good at putting on an “I’m paying attention face.” (She does live with my dad, after all.) Either way, she’s a good one to have around. The drive seemed like it was over in an instant (again, I think my mom probably has a different opinion about that) and we made our way into the first store.
As far as thrift stores go it was pretty swanky. Shoes were actually set up nicely and there weren’t piles of stuffed animals on the floor of the toy section. All of the items I saw even had (gasp!) tags. It was a beautiful thing. After a quick peruse of VHS tapes (yes, I have still have a working player) for all the Richard Simmons “Dancing to the ______s” I could find (yes, he is still an exercise god and love him to the tips of my toes) I made my way to the women’s clothing section.
For better or for worse I always take a good long look at all of the skinny people clothes that I will probably never be able to fit into in my lifetime. I see the cute tank tops and frayed cutoff shorts and hope that I’ll find something equivalent in the land of plus size clothes. You’d think it could never happen, but it has. It’s like winning the fat person’s lottery, but it happens. I was hoping that I was going to win that day. And, guess what? I really did.
As is pretty constant with me, I found lots and lots of beautiful clothes that were neither shorts or short sleeved shirts. I ended up loading my cart with nothing but pants, over-sized shirts, t-shirts and one lone skirt. I mean, I loaded my cart. That never happens. I never have that kind of luck. Now, I wasn’t so overwhelmed with joy at the sight of my bounty that I wasn’t (at least minutely) aware that I probably wasn’t going to fit into half of those clothes but it was still a victory. My spirits were soaring by the time I worked my way over to the dressing room (which is the only way someone should be feeling when they’re about to try on any kind of clothes in a public setting) and I was ready to start the fashion show.
Unfortunately, my spirits immediately plummeted when I realized that I was rearing to go and I couldn’t get inside the damned dressing room. I had to track down the one guy in the shop with the special key to get me inside the special 2’x 2′ cubicle that I needed in order to try things on. Of course, the only employee visible was working the front cash register for, apparently, the only other three customers in the store besides me and my mom. I tried my best to send out the “someone come out here and help me” vibe, but it didn’t work. I shoved my cart into the most inconspicuous corner I could find and set out to get some help.
To be continued…
© DRB 2016