Friday, 06 September 2013
Shopping While Old
A side issue that came up in the recent conversations here about elder fashion and mean (old) girls is shopping which got Crabby Old Lady thinking about how much she despises it and wondering how others her age feel.
As Paula commented in part,
"I'm a big fan of shopping carefully, trying things on (including the dreaded bras), doing alterations, etc., etc., BUT I realize this can be a LOT of work...
"If I didn't feel well, had recent surgery, or had worse caregiving responsibilities than the ones I have already, I would be wearing my two favorite pairs of yoga pants...
"I totally get why people do what fashion types disparage as 'giving up.' It's apparently unfathomable to them that life sometimes has other plans beyond a 'pretty blouse.'"
So true even if you can't find one that fits.
Crabby hates shopping for clothes (and pretty much anything else) so much that for the greater part of her working life she did it only twice a year, spring and fall, almost entirely at a certain shop in Greenwich Village (now long gone) where a wonderful, young sales woman kept file cards about what Crabby had bought in the past.
At the beginning of those seasons, Crabby did an inventory of her closet, made a list of what should be replaced, what was still good to go, along with the colors that needed complementing and any fripperies she was interested in having.
Then she set a total price limit and with that terrific sales woman, Crabby could get out of the shop in under an hour, before the irritation of taking clothes off and on turned her into a screeching harridan.
Pretty good, don't you think: two hours a year for all the clothes she needed.
Of course, back in those days, well-constructed clothing in good fabrics and classic styles that can be worn for years didn't cost hundreds of dollars and sizing was standard then, too.
Let Crabby Old Lady, who is 5 feet, 2 inches tall and currently in her weight loss program at 135 pounds (with 15 more to lose), give you an example of sizing insanity.
A week ago in an actual store (as opposed to online), Crabby tried on (which as noted above she despises doing), a pair of pants that from looking and guessing, seemed to be about the right fit.
Maybe she's not accustomed to her smaller body yet; they were so big Crabby could have fit two of her into them.
And what was the size? Wait for it: 0/1 – whatever that means – and not mislabeled, according to the sales clerk who said it was the shop's smallest size. Since it was not a fat women's store, Crabby wants to know what smaller people wear.
Never mind – that's not a real question.
It is probably true that Crabby Old Lady is not the one to discuss shopping of any kind. Seven years since she left New York City and she still doesn't understand how to shop when you drive everywhere.
For the 40 years Crabby walked to most destinations, she window shopped along the way. “Ooooh, that would be a nice gift for Mary.” Or, “cool shoes; I check out this place next time.” And when there was time, she stopped in newly opened stores or wandered the aisles of others making mental notes of what was available.
Crabby has no idea how people who don't walk around their cities and towns know where to go when they need to buy a certain item. No one can tell what's available driving by and anyway, most stores are set back from the street in little strip malls.
Don't get Crabby started on malls. Awful places. She was forced into visiting one a week ago and as with all others she's ever seen, it was filled with nothing interesting – only chain stores and restaurants that, by definition, are bland and boring to appeal to as many people as possible.
It was late morning on a mild, sunny weekday and hardly anyone was there – mostly old women window shopping but not buying, if their lack of shopping bags was any indication.
But the biggest shopping difference in Crabby's life at age 72 is this: there is nothing she needs. She has furniture to fill her home, enough crockery and kitchen utensils to stock a small restaurant and so far, her appliances are in good shape.
Books and food are Crabby's main expenditures and she wonders if this is common among her age group; if after a certain age we just lose interest in shopping or as Paula noted, her “life has other plans beyond” wandering stores in search of what Crabby probably can't find.
Even when there is an item or two that she wants to buy – especially something she needs to see and hold rather than purchase online – she often doesn't because it's more effort to drive and check out several stores than to live without the item.
This is a much too long and amorphous post without much of a point but if it rings a bell for anyone reading, Crabby is eager to hear from you.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Marc Leavitt: On the Subject of “Race”