It’s been uncharacteristically frigid here in Los Angeles for the last few days, even getting into the high 50’s. I know, I know: where’s global warming when you need it?
The other morning I found myself digging deep through my closet, searching for something – anything – with sleeves. I know, I know: everyone north of the Mason Dixon line (oh, and Georgia) is crying a river for me.
The first shirt I found was a red and white checkered number (that’s right, I called it a ‘number’) that could double as a tablecloth at a pizza parlor. It fit me like a sausage casing. Next, I tried on a sweater that swallowed my hands whole. Then I moved on to a shirt that came down to my thighs. What was going on here? Have I gotten fatter and shorter in the past few months? Has some combination of radiation and insecticide changed my size shape like in The Incredible Shrinking Man?
I looked at my dog and wondered if it were just a matter of time before I went from tossing the ball around with him to being chased by him through towering blades of grass, when I remembered the common … ahem … thread between all this clothing: It was all purchased online.
Was I planning on joining some kind of Hells Angeles’ slow-pitch softball team?
It’s hard to know what inspired me to buy a chambray baseball cap with skull and crossbones on the front with the words, “Maiden Hell” underneath. Was I planning on joining some kind of Hells Angels’ slow-pitch softball team? Or the dress shirt that, upon close inspection is not white, but rather a lovely shade of yellow – excuse me – canary. If I could close it, the gray and white pinstriped blazer sitting in my closet would fit right in, if “in” was at a taping of the Def Comedy Jam circa 1993. Hamburger!
Honestly, even from the convenience of home, the online shopping experience isn’t even that easy. It’s actually the cause of considerable anxiety. Usually, I see something that matches what I’m looking for and I save the link. Then, I’ll go back to it a few more times over the next few days, looking at different pictures to see if I can imagine myself in the photo. At some point I’ll determine that such relentless reexamination – “It’s just a shirt!” – is a personal failing. Then, I’ll take out my credit card, and buy it.
A few days later a package arrives. I open the box like it’s Christmas morning, but it’s actually more like the fourth night of Hanukah, when the presents start to really go downhill. I try the item on and immediately realize my error, and tell myself I’ll return it, which I never do.
What was I thinking? Well, I was thinking I didn’t want to go to the mall.
But now that I apparently live north of the Arctic Circle – I know, I know, butdid I mention the average February temperature in Los Angeles is supposed to be 70 degrees? – and need some warmer clothes, I’m beginning to reconsider the whole “I don’t want to go to the mall” thing.
Really, what’s so wrong with malls, anyway? Sure, fighting for a parking spot can be torture. And navigating the meandering crowds is beyond aggravating. But as child growing up in New Jersey, the mall was my Mecca. Where else could you eat a soft pretzel, play video games, and hang out with your friends unencumbered by the
oppression supervision of your parents? Before the age of about thirteen, pretty much all the bad stuff I got away with happened at a mall. Malls were great to me. And how did I repay them? By joining Jack Threads, that’s how.
So, it’s decided. No more online shopping for me. I’m going back to the mall. I’m going to brave the parking structures, I’m going to try stuff on and see if it fits before I buy it, and I’m going to eat soft pretzels. I will no longer be a loner behind a computer screen; I’m a man of the people.
Or maybe I’ll just move somewhere warmer. Like Phoenix. Wait … what? Seriously?!