Saturday, October 20, 2007

Here's What I Learned In The Fitting Room

Today it was time for a little retail therapy and I was very much looking forward to it. I had a couple of gift cards in my purse that were screaming to get out and I wanted to let them.

I found myself at Ross Dress For Less. I really have to be in the mood to shop there; the merchandise is pretty much shoved onto racks with little rhyme or reason apart from sizing. Today I was in the mood. SO and I have some social engagements this weekend and I fancied some new items. Sometimes a new shirt, pair of jeans, earrings, or a pair of shoes can just turn the switch to the "on" position personality wise.

I am pushing my little cart around the store, choosing items and mentally constructing an outfit around each item: "I can wear that black sweater I bought a couple of weeks ago with these jeans, but I'd better go try them on first", so off to the fitting room I go. When I arrived at the front desk where they give you that big hang tag number that denotes how many items you're taking into the room, I noticed the attendant was a senior citizen.

I watched this woman as she worked; she was like a hummingbird. She'd zip over to the desk hand out a number, zip back to the two racks holding discarded clothing, zip back to the front desk again. She was tiring and inspiring to watch. She also was running rings around the other employees who were younger by at least 30-40 years.

I have a few health concerns and I don't always move so well, not horrible but not great. Certainly I'm not up to climbing Mount Rushmore as a very dear high school friend recently did. Some days stairs can be a challenge. HOWEVER this little lady at Ross was moving!
I said to her: "How are you?"

"You really want to know? Come here, I'll whisper."

I leaned forward and she sort of stage whispered, "85".

I said, "Oh, I asked how you were, but I never would have guessed that."

"Oh I thought you asked, how old I was"

"That would be pretty personal" I laughed as I took the hang tag and went in to try on the jeans.

As I pulled on the jeans in the tiny dressing room I thought of the woman; I thought how sad that she has to work at 85. I then had to stop myself because really, I had no idea what that woman's story was but I was creating a dismal picture. She had way more energy than I did, and one thing I know is when you have a lot of energy, you can't just be sitting around. Maybe she's working in order to keep busy.

I wanted to ask this woman why she was working, but somehow that didn't seem like the right question, even insulting. As I left the dressing room and went to the desk to return the number I said, "what's your secret?"

"What's my secret?"

"Well yeah, you look great, you're moving faster than I am , what's your secret?"

"Well, I never drank, never smoked.."

"Good clean living?"

"Good clean living." And she gave me a very sweet smile.

So here's what I learned in the fitting room today at Ross:
-As long as you've got energy, keep moving,
-Do the best job you can,
-And be kind to silly young women who want to know your secret. They'll learn it themselves in time.