|Providence Place Mall |
There was a reason to be there, I reminded myself. It had to be pretty compelling to convince me that it was necessary to go to the Providence Plaza Mall two days after Thanksgiving. My willingness to enter the probable melee of sales-hungry holiday shoppers was prompted by my desire to travel light. My daughter and I had plans to fly to Denver from Boston. For me, a trip of this magnitude happens only every two or three years. My children are globe-hopping travelers. I am not. When my daughter suggested that I would do better to have a lighter hand bag in which to organize my Mac book, Kindle, headphones, camera, wallet and snack bars, I trusted her advice. She suggested I use a Longchamp bag. We tested her hypothesis. Before we left her apartment, we pared down my belongings to the utmost essentials, then placed them in her medium Longchamp bag. The zipper closed readily and I could hoist the bag on my shoulder easily. Clearly, a medium Longchamp or a similar nylon bag with 16 inch handles would do the job. She pointed out the added feature that the bag folded flat, and when not in use could be conveniently packed in a suitcase.
The garage in Providence Plaza mall is not user-friendly. It is designed for the intrepid, puzzle-hound with superior navigation skills. Fortunately, that describes my daughter.
She whipped right into a parking space mere feet from the elevators that would deliver us to Nordstom and its semi-annual sale. Despite our pledge to head straight to the handbag department, I was the one that pulled us off course. I was enchanted with everything I saw. The shoes, the scarves, the earrings...it was exciting to see the things that I am accustomed to perusing online. Generally, the life I lead -- while not sequestered -- does not include many shopping trips. A young saleswoman, who, in my father’s era would have been called a sale’s girl -- offered to help us. I asked if we could see the Longchamp bags, medium sized, please. She took us over to show us the collection, I picked out a sky grey color and was ready to check out. Then she broke the news. “The new "Long Champ" medium is smaller than the ones they used to make.”
“Noooo!!!!!!” Was our plan foiled? We unfolded the Longchamp bag I had chosen and found its perimeter at least an inch smaller than my daughter’s. No way would my things all fit. We talked ourselves out of it. My daughter and I spent a fruitless twenty minutes searching for an alternative. Nothing was quite right for the money. I led us back to the Longchamp collection. I asked the sales clerk about the return policy. She reassured me that it was very liberal. Receipt, no receipt, they had a way of making things work out. I donned an attitude borne of speculation when I reached my decision. With angst and a tightness in my chest because I am unaccustomed to spending that much money on a bag, I handed over my credit card.
With the purchase securely clutched in my daughter’s hand, we walked through a stretchof the mall in order to visit her favorite frozen yogurt shop -- Go Berry. I marveled at the holiday decor and the festive atmosphere that permeated the spacious atrium. My Go-Berry selection was a mini Original with pomegranate seeds, raspberries, pineapple and mixed nuts. Suddenly, I was on empty; I was out of energy -- hitting the proverbial wall described by long-distance runners. It was all I could do to make it back to the car. As soon as I was seated in my car seat, I used the recline handle and surrendered to exhaustion.
The short trip home served to re-enervate me sufficiently to get back to her apartment. Sprawled out on the floor of my daughter’s apartment, I manipulated my belongings into my new bag. Fairly quickly, it became apparent that everything simply would not fit in the new, smaller “medium” bag. I found the receipt and placed it and the bag into the Nordstrom bag for its return trip when we return from Denver.
My immediate concern of what to carry was addressed when my daughter dug out her infrequently used Le Sport carry-on bag that has numerous pockets and is light and compact. It was ideal for my needs and we both wondered why we hadn’t thought of it earlier. I said, “I guess that was a wasted trip to the mall.”
My daughter, a messenger sent just for me, said, “But Mom, think of all that we did beside the Longchamp bag. You looked at things you wouldn’t normally see, you appreciated the holiday decorations, we bought your first Go Berry, and we had time together.” I gathered her in my arms and hoped a hug would say all that words couldn’t.