Thursday, December 2, 2010

the trip

It would be hard to miss the look that passed over my significant other’s face, since he was looking right at me at the time…and mumbling. Mumbling about something that suspiciously sounded like a criticism of my oversized suitcase, my two tote bags and the extra plastic bag of shoes.

“What?”

“This just seems like…a lot.”

“Well, I’m going to be gone for a long time.”

“Right,” he agreed, huffing a little while dragging the bag up the sidewalk.

“Why? What are you bringing?”

“Couple of sweaters. A few t-shirts. Jeans.”

“That’s it? That’s all you’re bringing? For two weeks?”

“Yes,” he replied. “You know we can do laundry while we’re there.”

Right. Because that’s exactly what I want to do when I am traveling. Laundry.

And I don’t know if it’s men in general, or my guy in particular, but there’s a reason why we buy new clothes. And let me just point out here: I don’t really care for shopping. I hate the mall, and generally try to avoid any situation that ends up with me queuing up for long lines at cash registers, especially around the holidays.

But I love the end result.

My furtive online ordering, darting in and out of vintage stores and assorted “finds” over the years have somehow resulted in my being referred to, in some quarters, as, well, a clothes horse.

I admit it. I love pretty things. I don’t understand why things in the store, the catalog or on the web look better than what I already have in my closet. They just do.

And there’s something else about buying new clothes that any woman- and many men- can relate to. I’m not just buying a new outfit. When I shop for new clothes, I’m trying on a whole new me for size, too.
I’m imagining a whole new life for myself- in my new clothes. I don’t see the wan light of the fluorescent bulb in the dressing room at Macy’s.

I see soft candlelight, instead. No barren gray dressing room carpet or horribly unflattering mirrors are anywhere in my line of vision. Instead, I see soft sand and lightly tanned skin. Hands held across an ivory tablecloth, dotted with silver and crystal. 

Khaki shorts and an ivory peasant top? I bought them for a romantic afternoon on the beach.

The glittery black jacket? Why, that’s for spur of the moment trips to New York or London.

Silver shoes? Gold heels? Also a necessity for the never-ending formal possibilities in my indistinct future.

But I got sand in my shorts. Haven’t left this time zone in more than a year. And I haven’t attended an opera or danced a waltz in more years than I can remember.

But when I’m trying on clothes, still, I can dream.

Meanwhile, the re-packing continues.

“Where are you going to wear this?” Puzzled, he holds a sequined black jacket aloft.

“That one stays,” I firmly tell him. “That one stays.”