I hate shopping for clothes; I'd join a nudist colony in a heartbeat if it weren't for such things as mosquitoes and poison ivy. But I'll be traveling for the next two weeks, and my trip will include an academic conference and some formal occasions where nudity is not exactly the social norm. I looked through my closet to see what I could pack and found – well, not much at all. My summer wardrobe consists mostly of cotton shirts, denim shorts, and a bathing suit. My daughter looked at me incredulously when I tried on the shoes I wore to a summer conference two years ago.
Daughter: Are you serious?
Daughter: You can't wear those.
Me: They're sandals. People wear sandals with skirts.
Daughter: I don't care what you plan on wearing those with. Skirt, shorts, lingerie - you just can't.
Me: Why not?
Daughter: They're so...what's the word I'm looking for...religious.
Daughter: You know, like Jesus of Nazareth sandals.
Me (producing a pair of shoes): Okay, here's my other option. How about –
Daughter: Good God. Where did you get those?
Me: I don't remember. It was years ago.
Daughter: They are just so awful.
Me: You don't like them?
Daughter (shielding her eyes with her hands): God, those really are awful. No seriously, I don't even know what else to say.
Me: Well, I think I bought these before you were born.
Daughter (sarcastically): Really? I couldn't tell by looking at them.
Me: Well, this sole has kind of crumbled away, but the other one's still intact.
Daughter (rolling her eyes): You want to drive to Big Mall Named After Horses that Bob Up and Down — or should I?
Luckily, my daughter is an efficient woman who is able to guide me through the confusing mall. She patiently listened to my standard complaints about the kind of clothes that we saw in some of the stores. I tried to keep my rants to a minimum, but it's hard to stay silent when I see stores selling expensive jeans with ugly wrinkles at the tops of the legs or holes in the legs or worn spots on the butt. Why would anyone pay money for the kind of clothes most reasonable people would wear when they paint the garage?
Smart Wonderful Beautiful Daughter rolled her eyes when I picked out a brown shirt that looks exactly like the last five brown shirts I've owned. Well, there was one difference. As we stood in line at the cash registers, she noticed the monogramming.
Daughter: Do you mind the initial?
Me: Is it a letter? I wondered what that was.
Daughter: It's the letter G.
Me: G for great? G for goddess?
Young Man at Register: Swipe.
Me: (Trying hard to think of a goddess named Swipe.)What?
Young Man: You can swipe now.
Me: Swipe? That doesn't begin with G.
Daughter: He means swipe your credit card.
Daughter: Through the machine.
Me: Oh, right.
Really, I am not as clueless as this makes me sound. The young man at the register was soft-spoken and had made no gesture toward the credit card I was holding. My daughter was laughing, but the unsympathetic young man, who was young enough to be one of my sons but not nearly smart enough, told me helpfully that the G stood for the name of the store. Did he think I didn't know that? Sheesh.
With my daughter at my side, I braved a shoe store and several clothing stores, before we went to reward ourselves with a pretzel and lemonade. I bought a skirt, two shirts, and a pair of summer shoes that seem comfy. I'm good now for another twenty years.