I miss shopping.
Not the online click-and-buy all of us are subject to during this time of Covid-19.
What I miss is the entire experience of shopping.
Oh, I know — most places are open. But I don’t want to mask up, risk the germs, avoid people and stand six feet away from other shoppers.
I want the fun and richness of what shopping used to be: discovering a new boutique, bumping into other women who want the same bargain, smiling customer service reps when we could actually see someone smile.
I miss it.
Deb and I always started with a steaming cup of chai. Then a review of the places we wanted to go and the items we needed to buy.
On some level, we knew our shopping would include surprise bargains or maybe an impulse buy, but that was part of the experience — part of the surprise adventure.
Always lunch at our favorite Mexican place or trying out a new business that smelled of green chiles and salty cheese. Always, plenty of guac and chips.
Usually an ice cream treat in the afternoon: something with pecans for Deb. Always something chocolate for me.
What I miss about the shopping experience is the joy of browsing — to finger through hangers of clothes, to slide my hands over the creamy satin or the corduroy threads, to revel in the colors.
Then the fitting room with giant mirrors. Trying on items, checking out the fit, a 360⁰ turn, asking Deb or another woman, “Does this make me look fat? What do you think about this color?”
Imagining wearing the new outfit for work, church or a special event. All the events that are gone now, too.
One day, Deb and I were invited by an “older” bride to choose between two dresses for her big day. “Go for comfort and beauty,” I said.
“Choose something you can wear again,” Deb added.
We congratulated the woman on her final choice and wished her well. The look on her face was priceless: the glow of a heart trying again for love, her imagination already jumping to how she would look on her wedding day, how her groom would stare at her and remember the outfit the next time she wore it.
Hope reminds us that we will someday return to the fun of shopping trips.
Some of the experience will be different. Deb is gone now, so I’ll have to find another buddy willing to share a chai or coffee, to spend a day in eclectic stores and honestly answer my questions, “Does this make me look fat? What do you think about this color?”
Prices will no doubt elevate as businesses try to recoup what they lost in 2020. So the day may be shorter, the packages fewer in number.
But the joy of actually choosing a new outfit, trying it on, reveling in the imagination may seem even sweeter because of what this year has done to us.
For now, I will continue my click-and-buy way of shopping or wear out my old stuff, at least until more of the Covid numbers go down and it feels safe to have fun again.
And I will remember the days when it was easier, before we could even imagine what might happen in a pandemic.
Hope still wins. It’s just taking longer than we thought.
©2020 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
Spend some time shopping online for a good book. Here’s one you might like: No Visible Scars.