I was at Macy’s, and while my husband comparison-priced knives, I went through the clearance rack of pajamas. ?(I am perpetually on a quest for cheap, perfect pajamas, probably because, as a writer, I sometimes spend all morning in them.) ?A woman on the other side of the rack held aloft a big sleep-tee with a picture of a white dog on the chest. ?She said to me, “Do you think that’s a bull dog?”
Well, the dog was wearing an eye-patch, but sure, why not a bull dog? ?And she obviously wanted it to be one. ?So I said, “Yes, I believe that’s a bulldog.” And so it became one.
She said “I’m buying this for a co-worker, she turns 50 this week and she loves her bulldogs.” ?I said, “This is perfect then, and I hope she loves it.” ?This is the point where you would expect the interaction to be over, right? ?But the shopper said, “Well, she’s had a hard time, I just want to make her birthday nice.” The look on her face was all concern, and she was still a bit worried it wasn’t really a bull dog. I said, spontaneously, “Gee, I wish I worked with you.”
She said, “I’m just not sure about size.” ?We discussed Large vs. Extra-large on a couple of levels: comfort, possible shrinkage, possible stretching, not wanting to insult the birthday girl. ?In short, we totally girlfriended over the sleep-tee. ?(She settled on the Large.) ?Her parting words were: “We women have to hold each other up.”
I went to join Doug in the knife department, and a salesman (who didn’t realize we were a couple) gave me the hard sell for the most expensive set of knives. ?He said they would last forever. ?With that air of authority, he said: “I got this set as a wedding gift ten years ago!” Well, to me, ten years in the world of knives is not a long time. ?I also don’t know if he actually uses them. ?I glanced at his hand, noticed he wasn’t wearing a ring, and suddenly was quite sure that the knives had outlasted the marriage.
As we walked away, Doug told me that the same salesman had steered him to their less expensive set, as it would be “fine” for someone who doesn’t do much cooking. ?The funny thing, of course, is that Doug does most of the cooking at our house.
Strangers. ?Sometimes we understand each other, and sometimes we don’t.