Sunday, February 07, 2010

the future is a pink jacket

I saw my future in a Kohl's dressing room last week.

I have a bit of a small, inconsequential habit of talking to myself. Not loudly, not so folks can clearly hear but...I might let a couple words slip out if I'm thinking. It's not a crime, yet. I do tend to complain out loud a bit more, if I can't find something in my size. For instance, I might say,

"Oh, sure, size 2. Who the FUCK wears size 2? Seriously? Nobody. So why even stock them? Why is it always on the very infrequent times that I actually buy clothes in a store, that my size is always gone? And look. THESE are supposed to be longs? Really? REALLY? Christ, these don't even reach my fucking ankles. 'Longs.' Hah. What a joke. Nothing fits me, ever. I don't know why I bother trying. There's never clothes long enough for me and my monkey limbs. Ohhhh, but there's always plenty of size fucking 2s to go around. Plenty! Look at 'em all! What the hell is WRONG with these people?"*

On this particular day, however, I was mumbling stuff like, "Uh, that color. Not for me." And "Sleeves are too short." I want that on my tombstone: "Her sleeves were too short."

All in all, pretty benign stuff.

But then, on the other side of the rack, there's this woman. She's got frizzy, salt and pepper hair and a slouchy hat and a pink jacket. I can't really see her face. She's carrying on a conversation, full of sentences and pauses, as if she's talking to someone on the phone. I glance at her briefly, she looks a little disheveled, and figure she's on her cell. Except, I don't see one. She doesn't SOUND particularly crazy, but I think she just might be.

So I gather up some ill-fitting stuff and go into the dressing room.

Presently, someone comes into the dressing room and takes the stall next to me, even though all the other stalls are empty, which irritates me enormously. And this person starts talking. Like she's having a conversation. She describes each thing as she tries it on. She talks about wearing it at a party, and how it will look once on. Each item of clothing, described in painstaking detail. With pauses in between sentences.

Again, these folks with cell phones in the store are hijacking my mellow shopping vibe! I'm listening closely, listening for some sign that she's actually on a phone. Maybe a distant voice on the other end, maybe some muttering about not being able to hear...something? And then she just continues on, rambling about what she's going to prepare for dinner, and this and this point, I look beneath the stall, and notice a pink jacket on the floor.

It's the woman from the clearance rack. She isn't talking to anyone on any phone. It's now clear that she's in the Kohl's, just trying on stuff to pass the time, having a very real conversation with an imaginary friend on an imaginary cell phone. She's chosen the stall next to me, above all the other empty ones. And she's droning on and on to nobody in particular, and I recall all the times my kids have asked me "who are you talking to?"

She's a harbinger of my future. And my future wears a pink jacket.

*actual recorded conversation