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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)

TITLE: Shopping with Linda
By Ed VanDeMark
03/05/07


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Shopping with Linda

Dear Reader:

I guess Iím not your ordinary macho guy. Oh to be sure I enjoy all kinds of sports, and in my day I was better than average. I was never a star mind you but somewhere in the top 25% would be my thought on the matter. But now I get along better with a flat iron than I do with a circular saw and I enjoy shopping with my wife. I rarely buy anything except food, she handles all the shopping and I haul bags off to the car. You see it isnít exactly the shopping that I like; itís more the ambience at the mall that I go for.

Not long ago Linda wanted new curtains. It sounded simple enough but when you shop with an expert you soon discover simple is never simple. Our mall has no less than eleven stores that sell drapes. The first phase of shopping for curtains is to go to all the stores that sell them. On that first round you separate them by size. Then you pray nobody comes along and messes up your organization. The second round you count stitches. This time you cull the selection down to just the ones that have 32 stitches per inch. After that you revisit them and compare them to a tiny piece of the living room carpet and a swatch of wallpaper from behind the entertainment center. Hopefully that narrows it down to the top three. With any kind of luck they are all in the same store, but you know that rarely happens. Most of the time they are at both ends of the mall and if I hang around the inevitable question arises ďwhat about that other shopping center.Ē

Now mind you if I tagged along like a puppy on a leash I would never go shopping with Linda again. Thirty two years of marriage taught me a couple of things. I sprung the first one as we walked in. ďI think the curtains should be green.Ē Itís not like I really care that much as long as they arenít purple. Then at the door to the first store I gave her a kiss and said ďIíll meet you right here five minutes before closing time.Ē

On this particular day I spent the first hour reading in the book store. I didnít need to buy anything because I already read it. Then I went to the sporting goods store and checked out the baseball gloves and hefted a couple of bats, but I didnít buy anything because Iím 65 years old. The electronics store proved interesting. Iíve discovered that geeks will go on for hours about this stuff if you let them. When it was time to leave I shook hands with Arthur and wished him well with his Masters degree. He still waves and calls me by name every time I walk past his store. By this time it was getting almost time for lunch so I read menuís at three places and finally settled for the buffet. After I finished eating I stuck around for a couple more diet Cokeís and by that time people were clearing out. My waitress was Cindy and we discussed how tough it is being a single mom with three teenagers. I doubled her tip to 30%, and she said ďThanks for everything.

After lunch I sat outside the Victoria Secret store for a while. I was curious about what kind of people went into a place like that. I think one lady from my church intended to shop there until she saw me sitting just outside. I said ďItís a beautiful day isnít it Gloria.Ē She said ďOhÖyes it is.Ē I knew by her red face that she wasnít comfortable talking with me so I said ďIíll see you in church tomorrow.Ē Mostly however I sat on various benches and talked with who ever sat next to me. I enjoyed supper discussing politics and religion with my new friends Tad and Marie. They were waiting for a booth when I invited them to join me.

Incidentally Linda bought brown curtains and I carried them off to the car thankful that she didnít get purple. I think she had a good day.

God bless you.

E.


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Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood03/08/07
I loved this story! I could identify with the narrator's feelings about shopping--in our household it's backwards and my husband is the perfectionistic shopper who takes forever, while I like to only buy food and browse in bookstores.

Cannot say I'm half as friendly as that narrator, though! He comes across as a sheer delight in the creative and caring ways he spends his wife's shopping days. Wonderful descriptions of the characters he meets and befriends as well--the "computer geek" and embarrassed church lady outside Victoria's Secret especially came alive for me and made me laugh. Great job!
Erin Brannan03/10/07
This story made me laugh. I especially liked the part about the electronics store geeks going on and on and then waving at the narrator whenever he goes by. It was great to have the "other" point of view of a couple who shops. I really enjoyed it, I'm going to read it again =)
Marilyn Schnepp 03/11/07
I kept wondering throughout why the husband didn't just stay home; but then I remembered - he has to carry the packages out to the car. This could be called a bit of a satire type entry...whatever. It was very amusing and gave me the "other side" of the shopping picture. Thanks! Definitely enjoyable.
cindy yarger03/12/07
Entertaining and well written. I think I'd rather shop with you than your wife! I think you have more fun.
Jacquelyn Horne03/12/07
I enjoyed this "man's take" on shopping. It was humorous, and I'll bet the wife was glad you weren't tagging along with her. Good story.