Friday, October 1, 2010

Burlington Coat Factory

Today, I ventured into the Burlington Coat Factory Outlet store to see if I could find something new to wear to work next week. I am tired of what is hanging in my closet. This morning it took way too long to figure out what I would like to wear to work. I am weird that way. If I don't feel good putting something on in the morning, it taints my day.

I always have this issue about this time of year. I absolutely love summer, and with this week's weather hitting the mid 90's all week, I find it hard to believe it is Autumn already. I am told next week it will be in the high 60's. Such schizophrenic weather is usual for Reno. I started noticing the leaves changing about a week ago. The yellows, goldenrod's, and most spectacularly the burgundy's have started creeping over the formerly green trees.

Seeing those colors in my environment makes me want to wear them.

My summertime wardrobe is replete with fanciful colors. My favorite t-shirt this summer was a very bright pink, with a large brush swiped heart shaped graphic on the front. When I felt a little off, you could always see me wearing that shirt.

After work today, on this 95 degree Friday, I decided I wanted something new in my closet to choose from on the promised chilly fall morning come Monday. I was looking for some rich browns, or maybe a burgundy pair of pants. Comfort is number one with me. I went on the hunt.

When I entered the women's section, there was a very tall African-American woman wandering around the aisles with a cell phone held up so close to her face I thought she would eat it any moment. She was not shopping, only wandering around hollering at her not-to-be-seen shopping friend. I was not interested in whatever it was this woman was going on about, so I avoided her whenever I saw her coming down my aisle.

I foraged around the cluttered aisles. I found several prospective pairs of pants, three dresses, and a few blouses. When I finally get myself into a dressing room, groan, I want to do it all at ONE time.

I tentatively asked the clerk standing guard over the dressing rooms, "How many items can I bring in with me?"

"Ten, but if you but them back on the hangers, you can take all of 'em with you," the beautiful young clerk says with an earnest voice.

"It's a deal." I quickly grabbed all sixteen items and dashed  into the nearest dressing room. I had trouble passing through the door because my arms were so full of bounty. After I wrangled my way into the tiny space, I immediately shucked my own clothing. I tried not to look at my nearly naked self with all my lovely imperfections. I wanted to stay focused on checking out how these clothes might look and feel once they covered up my lumps, bumps and dimples. I worked at a fevered pace.

Fortunately, I was spared my usual intense scrutiny of myself because of what was going on just outside my dressing room door. I can't promise quotes I am about to relay are in actual sequential order, but each quote is REAL. I promise.

"Loquitia, what you doin' in there? Come on out here, girl." It's the woman I have been dodging for half an hour.

"Hang on, I gotta get these leggin's on. Lord this makes me look thick.What you think, you think this makes me look thick?" Apparently, it is the never before seen friend, and her name is Loquitia. I peer through the slats in my dressing room door to see her twirling around looking at herself in the mirror.

"Well, I would put a pair of socks with them, and a nice pair of boots. But you know me, that's how I would do it. You go on ahead and do whatever makes you feel good. You look white." The proclamation has been delivered by the woman with the phone who is sitting on a chair directly outside my dressing room door. 

Trot, trot, trot, back to her dressing room Loquitia goes.

"I gotta accep my friends on Facebook. I gotta accep my friends on Facebook. How in the worl can I do it on this phone? Girl, you hear me? EVERYONE could hear her. How do I accep my friends on this phone? Oh lord, looks like the battery is goin. GIRL I am gonna DIE if I can't accep these friends. Oh, I just got another friend request. I am up to 56 and I have only been on Facebook for two days! I just got out a couple a days ago. I been to the hairdresser, Peaches, you know Peaches, she the BEST. High, but she the best. I spent four hours in her chair. Oh lord, oh lord, the battery is goin'. What I gonna do? Hmmmm......" The woman with the phone commands all my attention now. I have dubbed her Facebook Lady. Her voice starts to quiver.

Next, I hear a lot of rustling going on.

I decide not to peek through the slats. It is difficult to pay attention to what I am trying on because I am being sucked into the drama just outside my dressing room door.

"There it is, GIRL how do I change this battery? Loquitia, Loquitia????" Facebook Lady's voice is getting tense.

"I need a shirt to go with these leggin's. Will you get me a shirt, please?" Loquitia pleads with the increasingly more and more frantic Facebook Lady.

"Does that mean I have to get up? Girl, my feet be hurtin'. Get yo own blouse. Now tell me how to change this battery. I will die if I can't get back on Facebook. I have so many friends. I love getting in touch with my friends. Mostly they be the ones I went to school with. Baby, you remember Baby? and what about Bubba Lou?" Facebook Lady seems to be talking to the dressing room clerk.

The young female dressing room clerk asks, "How long you been gone?"

Gone? Hmmmm. Now I am wondering where she has been.  California? Bermuda?

"Six years. I just got out a couple a days ago. They didn't have Facebook when I went up." Facebook Lady sounds positively jubilant.

Now I AM peeking out the slats of my dressing room door and simultaneously wiggling into a pair of jeans. I pray Facebook Lady doesn't see my wide open eyes.

"What you went up for?" The young clerk asks politely.

"Trafficking." Facebook Lady issues a flat statement. She never even looks at the clerk. All of Facebook Lady's attention is riveted on the phone.

Loquitia is apparently on her own. Facebook Lady has commandeered Loquitia's phone as well as her purse, and will hold it hostage until she gets the fresh battery. Facebook lady NEEDS to resume her frantic friend finding.

It is right about now that I have finished trying on all sixteen garments. Only two work. My typical ratio. I am faced with how to get all the perfectly-put-back-on-the-hanger items out of the tiny dressing room. I also am more than a bit leery of walking past Facebook Lady.

I admit I waited until she found the battery, and successfully placed it back in the phone before venturing out of my little cubby hole of a dressing room.

I gave Facebook Lady a nice smile as I walked past. She did not even notice me. She did get another friend request as I walked by.

"So and so told so and so I was out, now THEY want to be my friend. I remember that girl when I was in the first time. Lord she look like she doin drugs. That picture look like she be doin drugs again! Oh, she look bad. Loquitia do I want to be friends with her? Loquitia, you hear me? Loquitia I gotta be home in 30 minutes. They be monitoring me. I told them I was at Western Union. Now I gotta get home. Come on outta there now. I gotta be home in 30 minutes." Facebook Lady is pleading with Loquitia who has been mercifully silent.

I immediately handed  fourteen beautifully put back on the hanger items back to the dressing room clerk. I stashed my two items in the cart, and made a beeline for the checkout counter.

Here's the thing, I work with youth who are routinely in and out of kiddie jail, but seldom am I around folks who have just returned from THE BIG HOUSE. I kept asking myself, How would I act if I had been removed from society for six years? I still don't have any answers. I felt simultaneously sorry for Facebook Lady as well as being highly amused by her antics. I even felt a dash of fear wondering what would happen if she did not find a charged up battery in the bottom of Loquitia's purse.

Am I a bad person?

Really, all I wanted to do is find something new to wear to school on Monday. I did not walk out of Burlington with anything that remotely reminds me of fall. Nothing brown. Nothing orange. Nothing goldenrod. No pants of any kind.

I did come out of there with a great story. A slice of life.

Silently, I wish Facebook Lady the best of luck finding friends again. I hope she said NO to so and so who looked like she was doin' drugs again.

I still keep wondering how it would be to be locked away from society for six years then try to re-enter again with the fast paced, technology filled world we live in now.

Best of luck, Facebook Lady.


  1. Hahaha! This is hilarious! I love listening in on people's conversations, although it is a bit rude. I particularly like it in cafes, where I can just bring a book or my journal and pretend I'm busy.

    By the way, here is that link:

    Thanks for the comments and wonderful wishes, SW. :)

  2. summer is hot,
    cool story...
    i wish I like facebook.