Powder Room Stimulus Package
When I walked through the front door around 6:45 p.m. Friday, I realized that this was the first time during the four months Bow and I have been together that we have been apart for more than eight hours. Her English nanny gave a report earlier in the afternoon that she had done well with her, but it was a thrill to see her reaction to me. She stood on her back legs, flailing with her front ones in a state of near disbelief. Her curled tail was fully extended and wagging as if she'd magically transformed into a Labrador. Then she just pushed into my thigh, as if to make a heat imprint. Then she ran into the kitchen and then back and repeated every exact action. Then she sat on my lap and sighed. Not hysterical, just solemnly content
It had been a strangely mixed week. An unusually upbeat and productive week in Denver was contrasted by the fact that more than 70 of my coworkers are now my former coworker due to no fault of their own or the organization. Just cruel realities of the American capitalist system that is staggering not unlike British colonialism nearly a century ago. Meanwhile the media obsessed over the tragedies of Madonna brooding in her British mansion due to the fact that she can't buy African children as easily as British husbands and Oprah's franchise is staggering because her carefully branded all-girl school is filled with sexual improprieties.
A slight injustice slapped me that night because, as if to recreate the opening moments of What's Up Doc?, some idiot at SFO picked up my charcoal gray Kenneth Cole suitcase and left behind their light gray tacky Samsonite bag of the same exact size. Since the courier called me at 12:35 a.m. and again at 6:03 a.m. saying they could drop the bag off within a "window" of 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., I opted not to be a hostage in my home and went down to their operation on Linden in South San Francisco. I interrupted the Winston-Salem break of a baffled underling with my ID and United claim check and headed further south to the Hillsdale Shopping Center where I fueled my desire to complete my bathroom transformation.
Was it narcissistic, insane or clueless to want to replace tacky white plastic switch plates with shiny chrome ones at Restoration Hardware? I really hated buying them there instead at Cole Hardware or other local, mom and pop stores. But none of them had ones that would specifically fit this particular socket. With three items in my hand, I felt somewhat smug with my new economy frugality in this remnant of the late 1990s economy. Yet I avoided being too smug when, after being approached three times by clerks with an almost stern "May I help you" as if they feared I might shoplift their precious restoration fixtures, the fourth clerk approached me with a placid EST-esque tranquil mantra: "We're having a Restoration Hardware Stimulus Package this weekend. If you spend just $500 -- that right just $500 -- we'll take off $100!"
"That's fine, I'm only spending $25," I said, holding up my three marked down items (cucumber dryer sheets, "vintage" shower curtain hooks and a polished chrome swicth plate). Bewildered, the clerk replied, "Uh, I thought that was...impossible....I mean...here." Had I thrown a blow against the staggering, dying empire? Was I yet another self-deluded bourgeois? Was simply a Jewish spendthrift?
When I opened the front door 20 minutes later, Bow gave me the same greeting she bestowed last night, sniffing my purchases dismissively and then folding her spine into my thigh. I was reminded of a comment of a friend from the early 1980s: "Gloria Vanderbilt? Calvin Klein? Alexander Julian? They clothe our naked bodies with delusions of class and grandeur, yet we are oblivious to the fact that every stitch and crease was created by under compensated peasants in China and Pakistan who could never pronounce the name on the label that they have so meticulously created."