So much for the mall

It’s not what you’re thinking. This has nothing to do with holiday shopping and whether or not I’m going to shop at the mall or not. I gave up on that years ago. I did all of my holiday shopping downtown at the local stores or at craft fairs or via mail order.

What I’m talking about is my desperate need for a new pair of jeans. El Desperado. You got that right, pardner.

And the only place to buy Lee Jeans around here if you don’t know your size is at the mall. The dreaded Capital Mall. (It’s also the only place to buy Levi’s, by the way. I do not like this city.)

I don’t know my size because I have (ahem) gotten a bit wider without getting any taller.

So I strategically waited until I thought all the holiday shoppers had headed home, and then I veered off into the darkness towards Ye Olde Shopping Centre and that purveyor of everything necessary, J.C. Penney, to buy me a pair of good old Midwestern denim.

Once I located what I suspected might be the correct size size-wise width-wise, having added in an inch or so width-wise in the width area myself, I headed off to the dressing room. For some reason, it was in the lingerie department. This meant it was kind of gussied up. The mirrors had draperies on them that were held back by rings, and there was a padded stool as well. I was made to feel like a lady, even though I was trying on men’s jeans.

Just as I had strategically waited until the shoppers had headed home, I thought I had strategically dressed for trying on jeans. But I had forgotten about static cling. There is nothing worse than static cling in a dressing room. The pants I had on, made of some unnatural fiber that starts with “poly‑” and ends with “‑iber” (this is why I so desperately needed jeans to begin with) clung for dear life to my legs, realizing their time was nigh.

But first I had to get my balance. I don’t do well in small spaces. Especially ones where an entire wall is a mirror. Fortunately there were grab bars on another wall. They were intended to be bars on which you could hang potential purchases, but on which I chose to hang my wayward hands. Wayward hands thus steadied, I coaxed the polyhedral polyfiber Pollyanna pollypants off my legs somehow while the dinky little room became dinkier and dinkier and the brown carpet came closer and closer to my nose and the padded stool became tippier and tippier. <<CAUTION!! PERFECTLY USELESS ETYMOLOGY LESSON AHEAD!!>> For some reason, “dinkier” is an accepted word, but to many dictionaries, “tippier” is not. As for the etymological reason this is so, I can’t tell you. I lied about the lesson. <<END USELESS ETYMOLOGY LESSON>>

Polypants off, it was time to wrangle the denim pants on. Did you know that Lee owns Wrangler? Howdy doody, they do! Well, the parent company does. It also owns North Face and JanSport and Vans and a ton of other stuff. Very down-homey. If you go to the Lee website and sign up, you get 30 days o’ free shippin’ and returnin’. Just like the good ole’ days.

So anyway, the jeans fit, and all I had to do now was yank them off and tug the unwilling polynomial things back on my spastic legs in the ever-shrinking dinkiest tippiest dressing room in the lingerie department. Then I could find a register, pay for them and get out of there.

Yeah. Right. That lasted for 15 steps, just far enough for me to wend my way through the carpeted displays in the lingerie department and hit the nicely polished main walkway through J.C. Penney.

Splat. And I mean splat. As in on my face, nose first, suddenly surrounded by five sales clerks and two shoppers splat.


The only thing I remember about falling is that I managed to push one of those pesky center-aisle tables out of my path as I fell, so at least I didn’t crack my head on it.

That’s the fun part with M.S. and balance problems. You just never know! Everything is fine, hunky-dunky as Uncle Felix would say, and then you’re eating the sidewalk.

They fussed over me and gave me something to wipe away the blood from a nasty scrape on my arm, and then a bandage for it (no biggie), and made me fill out paperwork for “loss prevention” (very nice woman in a very grim office designed for shoplifters), and mostly it was all ridiculous.


But this is what happens when I go from a dinky room that makes me tippy to a crowded situation such as a lingerie department and then step onto a different surface and don’t pay enough attention to my footing.

Splat. Wait—what happened to those jeans I meant to buy?

I must have flung them somewhere as I fell, probably into the unyielding arms of a lingerie mannequin. I knew I didn’t belong in that department. I’m calling LL Bean.