May 19, 2012
By Miriam L. Wallach
At the start of my weekly radio show, I make mention of national holidays taking place that day. You would be surprised to hear about some of the organizations that have applied for and been granted national days of celebration. A few weeks ago, it was National Paranormal Day. I suggested that listeners go hunt ghosts, if they could find one. Another time it was National Hug an Australian Day. Limited on the number of Australians I know, I contacted a close friend of mine overseas whose husband is from Perth. I told her she needed to go hug her husband. She told me I’d better give her a really good reason why.
Sometimes I include those holidays occurring the day after as well if they are that interesting. For example, while last Thursday was National Lupus Day, I made sure to mention on the air that the next day was National Eat Whatever You Want Day. In the habit of celebrating that to the fullest even when it is not sanctioned, I was happy to be granted the official green light. Of course, however, I made sure to remind listeners that Mother’s Day was on Sunday, as it is one of my favorite days of the year. While my friend refuses to celebrate any day orchestrated or divined by card companies, I like the sentiment. Each year I look forward to the gifts my children make in school. While I openly joke that Mother’s Day is one day of the year while Father’s Day are the other 364, I planned to milk this one to the fullest.
The same way I am in charge of buying all the Father’s Day cards for my family, my husband is responsible for those needed for Mother’s Day. We take special pride in trying to match the appropriate card with the child. When my son’s card included a button I was supposed to wear all day that read, “Please put me in timeout,” I laughed. I decided not to wear it though – am saving it for a rainy day. It was the card he made by himself in school that cracked me up. It said, “You are the best mom I’ve ever had.” That’s good, I thought. In comparison to all of the other mothers he has had in his life, of which there have been none, I rank the highest.
Despite enjoying all of the celebrations and time with family, it was still a Sunday and errands needed to be run. Always practical, I had returns to make at the mall and I was not going to lose the chance to accomplish. Three kids in tow and my bag of returns in the trunk, we headed to the mall despite what we expected to be a crazy Mother’s Day crowd.
With many more parking spaces available than I had expected, we were pleasantly surprised and hopeful that the stores would not be as busy as anticipated. Unfortunately, when I got out of the car, my eldest noticed that my skirt was dirty. It seemed I had sat in something which left a stain of sorts in a rather inopportune spot. While I would otherwise have no qualms about wearing the skirt regardless, the stain was really in a bad place. Having to return items to a clothing store anyway, I figured I would just get another skirt there and change in the dressing room. It would not be the first time I had done that and, I predicted, it certainly would not be the last.
The last time I needed to buy a new article of clothing and change on the spot, I had spilled a full cup of coffee on my shirt en route to a medical consult. Wanting to put my best foot forward, wearing a stained and discolored shirt was imprudent. Therefore, I found a shirt on sale, changed into it and went to pay. The woman behind the register did not even blink when I told her I literally needed to pay for the shirt on my back. She said it happened all the time. When I handed her my stained shirt to toss out, she did not see it as out of the ordinary either. Seems it was just another day at The Gap.
The gentleman who helped me on Sunday, however, was not as accustomed to such behavior. I came out of the dressing room, a pile of garments slung over my arm, and proceeded to the register. My eldest left to check out another shop nearby while I paid for my items. The gentleman and I exchanged pleasantries as I dropped my pile on the counter. “I am wearing the skirt I need to pay for,” I said, showing him the tags still attached to my side. “I got the skirt I had been wearing very dirty,” I continued, “and am going to buy this one I’m wearing instead.” First he looked confused, then he looked at me funny. I offered to explain my plan again, but he said he got it.
“I have to take the sensor off the skirt, though” he said, although I had thought about that when I was trying it on. “There’s no mental sensor on it,” I responded, expecting it to be just like sensors used by other stores that need to be taken off by a strange vice-grip kind of apparatus. He then explained that the sensor was in the label and needed to be deactivated by swiping it across the sensor pad on the counter. The tags were not a problem, he explained, because they could simply be removed. The sensor was more challenging, but he had an idea. While I offered to take the skirt off and wear the dirty one until the transaction had been processed, he was confident his ideas would work.
“All I need you to do,” he explained, “is roll across the sensor pad.” I asked him if he was serious. He said he was and told me to come behind the counter. “Just scoot on top of the counter,” he said, “and roll back and forth across the pad so the sensor in the label hits the pad.” All of a sudden, I became very wary. “Are you sure you don’t want me to just go and take the skirt off?” I asked, but he said it was fine. So, I did what I was told.
I walked behind the counter and propped myself up on top of the pad. As if I was completing some kind of crazy yoga or Pilates move, I extended my legs and rolled back and forth across the pad in a semi-recumbent position until he was satisfied that the sensor had been desensitized. “That should do it,” he said. I jumped down, looked around and returned to the other side of the register. Not one person noticed or commented about what I had done. Despite the business of the store, no one looked at me funny or wondered aloud why I had rolled across the counter. Besides getting a new skirt, the irony of no one noticing was the best part.
I finished with my purchase as my eldest returned. “You just missed it!” I exclaimed. “I just rolled across the counter to shut the sensor off on my new skirt!” She stopped in her tracks and rolled her eyes. “I missed nothing,” she said. “Thank G-d I was not here.” I smiled. I got a new skirt, did all of my returns and fulfilled my parental duty to embarrass my kids. Happy Mother’s Day to me.
Filed Under: Miriam L. Wallach
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