Let me tell you what happened today. Something to underscore my
pledge to stop shopping even at thrift stores for two months.
My friend W. was having a rather serious medical test done, and she needed a ride home from the hospital. When the time came for me to get her, she called me on my cell phone. She said they needed her to stay at the hospital for another hour. She asked if I would pick up a sandwich for her on the way.
Yes, of course I would come later, and I’d pick up a sandwich.
Okay. At this time I was in the car, and I was close to the sandwich place. I could have gone straight there, and then to the hospital. But NO. This is Sallymandy. See, not only was I close to the place with the delicious sandwiches, I was also close to the
I reasoned: Sure, I just made that pledge not to thrift-shop, along with my Wardrobe Refashion pledge. However, I have some extra time, and… I’ll just go in and look. Just look.
So, I go in. I take a spin around, see nothing I like, and buy nothing. But when it’s time to leave, I realize I don’t have my keys. They appear to be locked in my Subaru. Nor is my spare key, usually velcroed on to a secret place on the bumper, there. I now have half an hour to get W. a sandwich and get to the hospital on time.
Standing in the parking lot, powerless to get in my car and pick up W., I’m feeling a wave of shame and guilt.
I should not have stopped at Bargain Corner. Knowing that I just posted about my Spending Hiatus has made me feel guilty, and I now wonder what’s wrong with me (forgetting for the moment that I didn’t buy anything).
What to do? The closest spare key is with my husband. He’s working out at the gym about three miles away. I have my phone in my hand, but his phone is turned off. And I do have my wallet, with money. I’ll have to get to the gym myself and get the spare key.
I ask the thrift store lady for a phone book and start calling cabs. As I talk to the cab people I’m looking at shoes. The first place says they can get me in an hour. The second guy says five minutes. I say fine. Waiting for him to come, I’m looking at linen blouses.
The driver is a sympathetic, youngish guy named Joe. In the car, I call W. at the hospital and tell her I’ll be late. She’s kind of drugged up and not very happy. She wants to go home. Her dog is out in the yard yearning for her. I feel terrible.
“You will get the sandwich, though, right?” she asks.
I will. I know where the deli section is at the store, and the little case of ready-made sandwiches. When I get there, I can grab it, pay, and go.
The cab has now arrived at the gym. I ask Joe to wait for me in the parking lot. I want him to drive me back to my car so I don’t have to rely on my hubby, who has gotten my out of many of these lost-key scrapes, and for whom the cuteness of his wife in these situations has worn off. Plus, it will be faster just to get the key and leave.
I find my husband on the treadmill. After I greet him lovingly, explain in a calm and rational tone what’s going on (anyone laughing yet?), I find his keychain and the key.
Back in the cab with Joe, I fork over a twenty so I’ll be ready to leap out we get back to my Subaru.
Okay, we’re there. I’ve leapt out. Joe’s driving away and I’m dashing up to my car when I kind of offhandedly notice that the key in my hand says Nissan on it. It’s the wrong key. I picked out the wrong key from hubby’s key chain.
I turn around in a frenzy yelling Joe! Wait! I have to go back! He looks out the window, kind of scared, I’m being so shrill. He gets on his radio and fairly nicely tells the dispatcher, Ahhhhh, she’s got the wrong key. ‘Nother round trip to the Y.
So back in I climb. We’re now at the 3rd Street stop light for the second time. I tell Joe I’m late picking up a friend who’s just had a biopsy. We hope it’s not cancer. He makes a pained face and when the light turns green he slams his foot on the gas and starts clenching the steering wheel.
Ha ha, I say. Now don’t you go getting a ticket on my account. He says, the cops around here are pretty easy on us. They never give us tickets. I say, well, in that case, go as fast as you want.
I don’t have to tell you all the rest of what happened—about getting back to my car twenty minutes later, having forked over another twenty; or how, at the store, W’s sandwich was not ready to go but rather had to be made to order with grilled tempeh and sauerkraut, and when I suggested I just take it cold to save time, the woman said that would be disgusting, so I killed another ten minutes waiting for that; and how I got lost at the hospital for another twenty minutes looking for the “central” waiting area that’s located far, far, from the center. I don’t have to tell you how W.’s phone by this time had lost its charge so she didn’t get my messages.
W. forgave me pretty fast, even though I ended up being really late. She’s hopeful about the outcome of her biopsy. We had a good conversation on the twenty-mile drive to her house.
What I do want to tell you is that my obsession with thrift shopping whacked me in the face today. I knew I was pushing it when I turned down that street instead of going straight on toward the sandwich. My Spending Hiatus beckons. Next time I won’t even drive into the parking lot.
The first painting is Christine Von Diepenbroek, The Day After