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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Royal Blue, Just Die Already

I spent half the day looking for red tulle. I drove all over town, to every fabric shop I could think of, to find this light gauzy red nylon for a dress I am making.
"Why is Austin out of red tulle?" I wondered.

God damn Valentines Day.

Curse you-teachers, students "crafty" ladies-I need that tulle more than you do, bitches.

On the fourth try I found it.

I waited in line for the ancient salesclerk to cut it behind the Most Annoying Woman in the World. She held up six bolts of blue fabric, all of them exactly the same shade, oblivious to my presence behind her.

"Is this royal blue?" she asked the slow moving, seemingly dull witted employee.


"Because it says Regal Blue on the label."

"I don't know."

I pleaded with the saleslady with my eyes.

Hurry up.

"I need this for a dress I'm making," she sighed. "It has to be Royal Blue? How about this one?" she held up an identical swatch of fabric.

"Looks blue to me."

"Yeah, but is it Royal Blue? I just don't know."

She drummed her fingers on the table, considering.

"Which one of these do You like? This fabric here is silkier, but this one is, oh I don't know........more old fashioned? The skirt on the dress is an A line, with pleats at the top,and mutton sleeves, pretty old fashioned........."

AWWW bitch, just pick one-no one cares! I am dying here!

"I'm going to be an usher for a play," she confided in the cutter,"I need it to be the right shade. They were very specific."

I sighed loudly.

(When I lived in Manhattan I would have said "Can you hurry up? I don't have all day. to which she would have replied "Fuck you" and slowed down even more. In the South, we are pathologically polite, so a passive aggressive sigh can express exactly the same sentiment.)

She turned and narrowed her eyes at me.

"I'll just take a sample of all of these," she said. I watched as the lady picked up her scissors in slow motion and gingerly, carefully spread the fabric out,
snip, snip
snip snip

Full of hatred, I got my red tulle cut and walked to the register to wait in line.
Behind Mrs. Royal Blue, the usher.


"Would you like to apply for a Customer rewards card?" asked the Register Lady, herself a hundred years old and slow as death.(Every old lady must dream of working at a fabric store. "I can get a discount on my quilt squares!" they must think"I can torture people who are in a hurry by moving my shaking fingers at a glacial pace, hesitating while I am punching in numbers one at a time.")

Of course, yes, she did want a Customer Rewards card.

She filled it out as I waited behind her once again. her name, in spidery print, her address, her phone number, her social security number, her life fucking story.

"I don't know my blood type but I'm sure everyone doesn't mind waiting while I call my doctor and ask him. Do you have a phone book?"

No, that didn't happen, but I would not have been surprised.

Be the Buddha, I thought, breathing deeply.

They can't feel your stress, I remembered.

Beam it out to them, I decided, maybe it will jolt them into hurrying the fuck up, or give them a stroke, I don't care which.

Finally she returned her biography to the clerk, who put it in the register.
"Would you like some of our scented linen spray today?"

straight in the eyes, like mace, I decided.

I couldn't take it anymore.

"Let's go, seriously,"I said in a low voice."I'm in kind of a hurry."

To which she slowly turned and-Southern style- smiled at me.

"Oh, I'm sorry."


Slower than ever, she paid with four dollars in change (pennies!she dug out PENNIES!)
then the rest on her card.

"Which button do I push?" she asked sweetly."Oops! I just canceled it out! I'll have to try again, can't get the hang of these things!" She glanced back at me.

After she paid, I did.

"No," I said pre-emptively."No linen spray."

I walked to my car, started it and pulled up behind a huge old lady sedan. I could see her recognise me in the rear view mirror.

She put her blinker on, and appeared to think about merging.

No cars now.
How about now?

If I was in New York City, I would have honked, but this is the South, so I could only sigh loudly and hope that she would hear it, a hundred yards away in her car, and MOVE.