They are filming an episode of "Supernatural" in my house, so for the next few days I am playing tourist in my own town and spending my $75-a-day per diem on Diet Coke (yes, I'm off the wagon), fancy gelato and a pair of fall boots. (Or so is the plan. It's hard enough trying to wedge your feet into boots without needing a grabber to do up the zipper, so I have no doubt that any shoe-shopping excursion will end in a pulled muscle and a boot through a plate-glass window).
Today, S. and I went shopping for a dress for her bachelorette party. You can tell I'm gearing up for six months of unemployment because I did not let my eye wander to the skirt department; I did, however, spend $8 on special pink popcorn for my mom, though given the free room and board and the fact that she's had to dote on my annoying ass for the past two months, it seems like a small price to pay. I also bought a little bag of nougat from a candy speciality shop, since I am of the opinion that nougat is actually a health food because it is made with egg-whites, which is a source of protein, and protein builds muscle, and muscle causes your metabolism to speed up. (See? Practically like eating carrots!) And there might have been some candy corn mixed in with the nougat, but it was stale and had a grainy texture and I threw it out. Throwing out the candy corn actually ranked higher on the "Disappointments of Arley's Life" scale than it probably should have. I digress.
Since the hip replacement, I have found myself appealing to a new demographic. Before, I was popular within the "hey, sweetheart! What's wrong with your leg? Do you have a man in your life?" disability-fetish crowd. Now, however, I've become a shining beacon for middle-aged ladies and their unquenchable thirst for fashion advice. First, I met a lady who recognized by my limp that I had recently had a hip replacement. She assured me that it would only take a year for things to clear up (gee, thanks) and I counseled her on various silhouettes of sweater-vests and the figure-flatteringness of certain sizes. (I have watched "What Not To Wear" probably a million times since the hip replacement, so I felt comfortable doling out fashion advice, despite the fact that I have spent the last two months in track pants and a "House of 'Paign" T-shirt).
At the next store, I met another middle-aged lady who sought my advice on the draping of a hot-pink tunic blouse with a drop waist. I, again, felt perfectly at home recommending pairing it with a pencil skirt or dark denim fitted jeans in order to balance out the shirt's volume. She asked if I had trouble finding pants because of my height. I said I did until the advent of premium denim about five years ago. She said I was very tall. I agreed. I think we bonded a little.
I'm not sure why I've been attracting middle-aged ladies--I suspect the presence of the cane makes me look innocuous and a little bit lonely--but I suppose it's better than having to invent a bodybuilder/mafia boss boyfriend to chase away the "let me follow you in my car through the Schnuck's parking lot because that is the true, respectful way to show affection" crowd. Progress.
I have noticed, however, that I am no longer a contender for the clothes-shoes-purses triathlon. After an hour, I was exhausted. After 90 minutes, I was drawing "I wonder what's wrong with her. I wonder if it's bad enough for her to get a free trip to Disneyland. I saw an episode of Oprah about someone who walks like her, but the girl on Oprah had an inspirational zest for life and this girl just looks pissed" stares. After two hours, I was slinging my hip in a zombie-ate-my-brainz fashion, lurching drunkenly into tourists and trying not to fall down.
But now, success. I have taken an Extra Strength Tylenol and Diet Coke cocktail (and a piece of nougat) and am snuggled under the covers waiting for room service. Someone get me a fluffy robe and cigar.