Shop Till You Drop


We had already hit two thrift stores and were heading for a third. Then I remembered that Vicky wanted to go to the ones in Carmel.

I turned onto Forest Avenue and took the winding highway 68 through the Monterey pines. It would lead to the new roundabout that would send the traffic north to Monterey, west to Pebble Beach, or south to Carmel. I went south, and we found a long line of traffic, thanks to it being Car Week  in Pebble Beach.  The Little Car Show in my beach town started at noon and went till 5:00.

It was getting close to twelve.

“Should we go thrifting first or eat lunch first?” Vicky asked.

“Let’s hit the thrift stores first so we can talk about what we bought at lunch,” I said.

“Just for twenty minutes or so, right?” V asked.

“Yes, twenty minutes.”

Then we walked into Yellow Brick Road.  A rainbow rack of evening gowns caught my eye.

“All ball gowns are $95.00 each,” the volunteer said. “And they’re new.”

I doubted if they’d have my size or Vicky’s, either. She is taller than I am at 5’11′” and a size slimmer. I flipped through the dresses and found not one, not two, but several in my size. When I saw the beautiful detailing on the dresses, I thought I’d better try one on. Some of the original price tags said $800.00.

Lunch was forgotten as we scooped up dresses and laughed our way into the triple dressing room.  I tried on a sassy pink dress that made my already ample bustline look ridiculously huge.

Vicky tried on a red stunner but decided it was too matronly.

Then I tried on a blue strapless ruffled number that fit me like a glove.

“Ah,” one of the volunteer said. “Lovely!”

“All I need is a bowl of fruit on my head,” I said, “and I can be Carmen Miranda on Halloween.”

“No, it’s beautiful,” said Vicky.

I tried on a short navy chiffon dress with a longer hem in the back.  It would’ve been great for dancing, but it didn’t fit, too small. I passed it over to Vicky. We had to keep jumping out of our dressing rooms to zip each other up.

Another volunteer kept bringing more dresses in our two sizes.  There was the purple Game of Thrones dress, the black Spider Woman dress, the Audry Hepburn black lace on cream dress, and the pale yellow one that made me look like the butter cow at the Iowa State Fair.

We laughed, we modeled . . .

“I’d like to thank the Academy,” Vicky said to the crowd of shoppers wondering what all the commotion was coming out of the dressing room.

At one point we both had on matching liquid-silver dresses, so we did our back-up singer routine to Mercy.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah!” we sang as we pumped our arms in memory of our Gong show act three years before.

When all was said and done, and we had re-hung every dress, picked up every matching scarf that had fallen and had taken our ball gowns to the counter where someone hung them up for safekeeping– three for me and two for Vicky (that’s almost $500 of dresses we were purchasing), our magic  moments came to a halt.

“Which dresses are you buying?” the well-seasoned older woman asked me.

“One black and two blues,” I said.

The woman got a black one and a blue one from the hooks and brought them over to the counter.

“The other blue one, too,” I said.

She proceeded to put the black one back and get the other blue one.

“No, three dresses,” I said.

“Well, I don’t know what you’re buying!” the cashier retorted.

Vicky and I decided in the car on the way to lunch that the woman must’ve had some hearing loss.  She certainly popped our bubble of silliness when it got down to the serious business of paying.

Life can be hilarious if you let it. We had a blast, two tall women in their 60’s vamping around Yellow Brick Road for an hour and trying on a dozen dresses each. All the volunteers had been so nice until we got to the volunteer cashier.

She was having a terrible, no-good, very bad day.

Then we headed over to Rio Grill for a salmon BLT and ginger ale, then back to my little town by way of four more thrift stores. We parked by the final thrift store, but it had already closed. We walked up the hill to the main street where the Little Car Show was breaking up. We sat in the wind on a bench with two guys and watched as the cars lined up for the parade down Sunset. All the cars turned and went by our bench, and we gave them our best parade waves as they passed.

Surprisingly, almost everyone waved back. If not, they at least smiled.

Couldda Wouldda Shouldda

You’re never too old to be silly. Too bad the cashier at YBR didn’t know that. Or maybe her bff had recently passed away, and she was irritated by our fun. I forgive you, grumpy cashier.  You were not in the mood for our happy shop-till-we-dropped lunch hour.



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