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Staying On The Funny Side – Of Mail Order Catalogs
I ordered these new stilettos by mail because the model looked great wearing them and I was convinced they were the thing I needed to complete myself. Well, that and a sheer shawl with the pearl butterflies. The stilettos, like the model, were everything I wasn’t. They even sounded cool – stilettos. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I figured with a name like that they had to come with a dark exotic man holding a tray of margaritas.
I would probably tell you that I am not a delicate woman. I bought a bikini this summer and could never get my whole stomach into it – it kept popping out on all sides like tinned biscuits. It looked like I was wearing an inner tube and the bottom half of the bikini completely disappeared from view. Now that I think about it, putting stilettos on me made as much sense as putting an alarm system in a Dodge Dart. Yeah, now that I think about it, they weren’t me. But that never stopped me before and it didn’t stop me now. Plus, they were only 25.99. And it’s a rare day that I can turn down something that’s only 25.99 whether I need it or not.
When they arrived, they turned out to be a little taller than I imagined – as if Great Aunt Ethel is a little off balance when she’s downed seven gin and tonics in the space of an hour. Four inches tall. So high that when I wore them they threw me forward with every step and I could actually feel the formation of hairline fractures (not sure that’s what they’re called but it sounded good when House said it) along with the whispered cries of my ankles begging for mercy.
Oh, but my calves looked good. And I pictured that model in the catalog and remembered that dream where I saw myself sitting in my future wearing cardigans and orthopedic tennis shoes and yelling at my afternoon soaps. And I went into another one of those moments where I break from reality — like when I lost three pounds and thought I could pull off that tube top — and said what I often say when my purchases don’t make sense. I can do these jobs.
So every morning I practiced walking in them. And being the hands-on work-at-home mom that I am, I used my time wisely with slippers while I answered my emails (ah, the joys of working from home) and allowed my spray tanner to set in. This was in the midst of another lapse from reality where I was convinced I wasn’t really bright orange but rather one application away from looking like the model on the bottle. And everyone knows you have to let things dry before you get dressed, so I had on this very skimpy nightgown, what my husband called my anti-rape outfit – light blue and covered in hard orange sunflowers, which were indeed. a gift from my great grandmother who had one similar. My two year old took a nap.
Blame it on the delivery guy, but that’s how it started when he rang to deliver my new CD box: Six Steps to Uncover the New You, which he apparently thought was a good buy after picking up my nightgown, orange skin, stilettos. , and a head full of pink sponge rollers. In fact, I think he was a little scared, because he sort of threw the package on the steps and left without even asking for a signature, making me go outside to get it, darting forward in my new quiets with every step, like a chicken, while he shot the engine and peeled down the street.
So I locked myself out of the house and found myself standing on the front porch in that moment of slow sanity, thinking to myself that this can’t be good before I hit full blown panic. The kind of panic that comes with knowing you’ve just locked yourself outside while your child snoozes inside — amplified by the knowledge you’re standing in front of God and all your neighbors wearing stilettos and a nightgown that barely covers the vital parts. and leaves the rest open to the elements, especially to the neighbor’s dog, who was already drooling at the sight of my chubby thigh. Apparently, he didn’t care how orange it was.
I ran like a crazy colt to the neighbor’s house. No Answer. To the other neighbor’s house. No Answer. Until I tried almost every house on the street except the lady who borrowed my heating pad and never gave it back. That wound still hasn’t healed. My only recourse was the gas station on the corner. And there I was clucking my way down Sherwood Street looking like a damaged dollar store mannequin in the middle of morning traffic, getting lots of stares, one open-mouthed gape from a freckled kid on a bike, and the occasional honk. from a well-intentioned truck driver taking pity on me- all the while trying my best to look normal.
I pretended it was nothing out of the ordinary as I half ran, half limped past Little Mouse Daycare and waved at the forty seven faces plastered to the chain link fence with expressions that said this was a lot better than when Jimmy threw up. in the fish tank. I drove past Diamond City where the line of Vietnamese nail technicians waved cheerfully and asked if I needed my eyebrows waxed. At least that’s what I think they asked – that, or there was some kind of ritual chant to drive away evil, orange, spray-tanned spirits with stilettos. I passed the Baptist church on the corner where a group of ladies chatting outside huddled together and started praying for me right there on the spot.
I passed all these places, never once considering that one of them might have a phone I could use – including the corner bakery, where I smiled and for the first time in my life carried on. OK, OK. So I stopped and got two bear claws and a cream puff. Ask me! I was stressed and I needed the extra energy for the last fifteen feet to the gas station. Only I never made it to the gas station thanks to the Barney Fife wannabe who pulled me over on Sherwood’s side – just an arm’s length away from the pay phone.
Long story short, I got busted for something related to indecent exposure. They wanted to get me for prostitution but decided that even street walkers know better than to put those colors together. And they try to get me into the police car and I’m hysterically screaming, My baby, my baby, and they think I’m speaking in code, maybe signaling my more dangerous street boss – an obvious conclusion for two hometown cops who’ve seen one episode of Law and an Order too many, and they reach for their tasers, or maybe it was just a breath mint, but I tend to get excited about things. And just as I’m yelling, Don’t touch me bro, don’t touch me, I see my husband driving down the street.
I swear I saw him hesitate before stopping. He denies it, but I saw the look – the look that said he was trying to decide what was worse – my anger, or admitting to the police that we were married. And like the good guy that he is, he talked me into a ticket and threw me into the front seat of his car with a look that encouraged me to say a word. He didn’t want my story. Never let me tell it.
Now I use the stilettos to hammer things, which annoys my husband, who says it’s a terribly expensive hammer and brings back sharp memories whenever I pull it out. Apparently, some of his golfing friends happened to see the picture on the front page of the newspaper with the headline that said: Local Woman Gives Streetwalkers a Bad Name.
But I’m all about finding the good in things. And I think there is something to be found in that story. message Because don’t we all find ourselves at some point in our lives trying to fit our foot into a shoe that doesn’t fit? Are you trying to be something we’re not? So learn from me when I say that life was meant to be lived just the way we are. Embrace what makes you unique. Or you might find yourself clucking on the street like a chicken.
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