Friday, May 12, 2006

Shop drop and...return.

Wal-Mart. I’m on my way to tablecloths and kitchen chair cushions, but get side-tracked in ladies underwear. It's this sick obsession with finding bras that are not sport-style pullovers or body armor with padding so thick you could use them as floatation devices. (We are evacuating the plane. Please put on your life-bras and exit in an orderly fashion.) I’m bloody fascinated by these things. Today, I braved touching one, just to see… And yes, they are three inches thick. You could ship dinosaur eggs in these without fear of breakage. They are more appliances than underwear. What happens, I wonder, the first night you decide that a man you’re dating is worth taking off your clothes for? What look is on the man's face when you undress and remove your... breasts? Just a thought, just a thought. Never mind. You know how I digress. On to the tablecloths.

Jogging the requisite half mile to the back of the store, I wander around blinded by towering walls of fake flowers so lurid they approach menacing….move on to the notions isle of the sewing section and discover that the lowly snap is extinct and has been replaced entirely by ugly Velcro fastenings. Soon, shoelaces will be an endangered species. I spy an area that looks like it has householdy stuff and travel through the country of Beds in Bags and its neighbor, Towels and Shower Curtains. Finally, I find tablecloths.

None of them are navy blue, which is what I need. They are sage green. And maroon. Mostly. I locate blue striped woven cushions, a couple white lace tablecloths, and a table “runner” – an idiot item I’ve never considered owning before but which coordinates with the cushions. And then, without even having to consult Map Quest, I blunder my cushion-bulked way to the cash and get the hell out of Dodge a hundred dollars poorer.

Drag the loot home and wrestle packaging, fishbone tags, and cardboard inserts. Everything is wrong. The chair cushions stick out five inches beyond the edge of the chairs. The “runner” is as stupid an idea as I originally thought it would be. The colors are wrong. So very very wrong. And what would be better? Plain navy blue. Why didn’t I think of that? Oh.

And, by the way. I found a bra. It was the right size, black, not ugly, didn’t have padding and hooked at the back. When I tried it on at home, I found that the straps were designed for a woman whose breasts emerge slightly below her chin. And that “firm support” means “ Skin abraiding elastic and cups made from the finest ground glass.”

I’m beginning to believe that this consuming thing is not as satisfying as it should be. Could that possibly be?