I sorted through the mail, handing Bryce the bills and tossing the junk. I started to ditch a certain flyer with a $10 off coupon inside, when Bryce stopped me.
"You should take advantage of that," Bryce said, helpfully. "I mean, since you have a coupon and everything."
"Really? It might take a while," I cautioned him. "That's why I haven't gone before."
"I'll take the twins with me to JCPenney while you shop," he offered.
And so we drove to the mall the very next day.
As I entered the store I tried to adjust to the amount of pink.
"Hi, can I help you look for anything in particular?" a saleslady named Kiki chirped.
"Thanks, no, I'm just looking," I said, clutching my coupon.
"Let me show you our new line over here." Kiki took my hand and I followed. "Now we have these and these. Or you might like this one. What size are you? This one looks about right. Here's one for you to try on."
Kiki left and another saleslady descended.
"Hi, can I help you find something? I see you already have one of our new products. Can I show you some other good choices over here? My name is Chloe."
"Uhhh, I'm just looking, thanks," I pleaded. I doubled back and stuffed the item back into the drawer when Chloe wasn't looking. I took a few steps around a corner, when I was ambushed again, this time by a huge black woman named Jane.
"Oooh, girl, I know just what you need," Jane nodded. "Umm hmmm. Same as me. Take a look." She showed me her bra strap. "Like the leopard? Looks good with everything. Here you go. Rhonda, take her to a fitting room with that one, and the new Bio-Fit, and this one . . . "
Somehow I found myself marching off to the fitting room with a stack of leopard-print unmentionables. And I thought to myself, there is no way Jane is the same size as me.
"Knock knock!" I heard two dressing rooms down. "How are those working for you?"
"Great," replied the half-dressed customer.
"Mind if I see?" the fitting specialist asked, opening the door.
Oh pickles, do not open my door! I silently scream.
"So how did that work for you?" the fitting specialist asked as I exited the dressing room, fully clothed. I was too fast for her to take a look for herself.
"Yes to this one, no to these," I said as I handed her the rejects.
When no one was looking I exchanged the leopard-print for something more conservative. I took my one item and ran to the cash register. On my way I heard, "Can I help you find something today, Ma'am?"
I handed over my coupon and the sales associate rang up my purchase. "Did you find everything you needed okay?" she asked with a friendly smile.
Please, stop harrassing me. Take your commission! I can't handle the pressure! I wanted to whine.
"Yes, I did, thank you," I answered instead.
Decorum is the hallmark of refinement, I tell myself.
And then I booked it out of the store, almost knocking over a mostly-nude mannequin and two tank top-wearing 12-year-olds who, frankly, should not be in this store unsupervised.
But I made it.
And I bought something.
And I used my coupon.
And that made me smile.