“Thanks! They’re so comfortable” the EP cooed, lifting her legs to model her footwear. “They only cost me $1,500.00”.(I’m sorry, wait, WHAT?)
And generally invisible as I am to the Powers That Be, crouching in the shadows as per the status quo, I stifled a nearly audible “Pfft!” (as well as a “you gotta be kidding me” eye-roll), at the absolutely asinine scenario unfolding before me.“These are ostrich leather, and I swear, I can be on my feet for hours on end and not even notice!” the EP added, easing her wealthy ass out of one chair and onto another (also scooted in quietly by our Set Dec guy) in a different set on stage.
Frankly, for me, the whole nauseating conversation just further emphasized the word “rich” in “ostrich”.But I couldn’t deny the fact that something had touched a nerve.
And sitting at home that night with a cocktail, mindless TV noise in the background to keep me company, and logging onto the poot, my homepage welcomed me with an advertisement from Zappos.com.Hmm...
They DO offer free shipping both ways, and I AM a Stand-In by title, and I SHOULD own comfortable shoes for my job, and what harm could it POSSIBLY do, to “window shop” for my upcoming birthday? Right?And having overcome my initial fear of Uggs and the stigma that I should be blonde, twenty-something and anorexic with a Chihuahua in my purse in order to wear their products in Hollywood, I clicked on my favorite Cardys and paid (with my debit card) for a pair of boots in a festive “sugar plum” color.
After all, how could a single hit of the drug known as “on-line shopping” cause any real damage? I’d successfully received my Zappos box the next day, and with the resolute constitution of my strong Capricorn will, had set the carton aside so as to look forward to something to open on my birthday!Logging onto the poot the next evening however, I found myself sucked in once again...
There they were, disturbingly beautiful motorcycle-style calf-high boots, but unlike any I had ever seen before. I confess, I must’ve stared and drooled at the expensive leather boots for at least five minutes, as suddenly a pop-up window appeared, and a sales agent wanted to know if I needed assistance in the on-line chat box.“There are no customer reviews. Can you tell me about the sizing?” I typed, unaccustomed to European standards, and feeling very much like a toddler caught with my hand in the cookie jar.
“No problem! They are brand new to the Fall line, so let me check with the company” the agent responded helpfully.I suspect it was less than a minute before I whipped out my debit card, and once again made the purchase. There was no problem! If the boots didn’t fit properly, the whole process would be nothing more than having a friend print out a return label and money sent back into my bank account!
And receiving my second Zappos carton, I made the Executive Decision to try them on (if only for a boost of self-esteem) and absolute reassurance that I CLEARLY did NOT deserve to possess genuine leather boots with a studded ankle buckle and a stripe up the back apparently made of some (faux cow?) fur, that filtered ever-so elegantly down towards the back of the two inch heel...After all, God knows, I had stood in for my Gorgeous Actress in our first episode of this particular season, wherein, to properly set up a camera shot, I was required to don her puffy-ball sexy “Zsa Zsa Gabor-esque” house slippers, which gave me immediate vertigo (as well as cause for concern from our Guest Director as to why I was clinging to the wall and my fellow Stand-In for balance). But as the script designated me to kick off the shoes irritably, I did so, to the best of my ability, delighted to be earthbound once again!
And thus, with trepidation, I slid on my birthday purchase.Lumbering around the bat-cave in my expensive boots and pajamas (yes, ever-so glamorous), I needed to make sure that my investment was indeed a horrible mistake.
The boots were a whim. They were a tad over $200.00! They were totally out of my league. I wasn’t Cinderella in glass slippers eager to meet my Prince at the Royal Ball; just a humble servant in the world of television production; a mere cog on a sit-com pulling the weight of the pumpkin carriage.But I was WALKING ON CLOUDS...!
I’d found a company that makes shoes and boots in a Fair Trade Market, and with a wire transfer from EDD that I’d totally forgotten about from my last hiatus, I opted for just ONE last on-line window shopping experiment at Zappos for my birthday.And scanning the company name that had created the world’s-bestest-most-comfiest-motorcycle-boots-whatever-lived, I found myself drooling once again.
Also brand new to Zappos, also premiering for the first time this season, and already completely sold out, I took a deep breath and contemplated just exactly what nerve our EP’s dead ostrich had stepped on earlier; and more specifically, what emotional need was I trying to fill?Did I really require the extravagance of one more pair of well-crafted boots?
Well, YES!Did I have the right to spend my hard-earned money thusly?
Well, YES!And did I dare to log on to the company’s home web-site in Spain, purchase the ankle boots (I’m not a wine drinker, but the color is either Burgundy or Merlot) from in-house, which as I live in the United States, offered free international shipping as well as no sales tax???
No, that would be absolutely absurd...And with one click, I ordered imported boots from Spain!!!
I must say that as my subconscious was only vaguely aware of my cyclical online shopping addiction, my pea-brain refused to acknowledge any psychological issues, as I could absolutely justify every single purchase. Even my family and friends were cheering me on, as I’m notoriously cheap!But it wasn’t until our Set Dec guy “called me out” as we had a ciggy together outside of the stage, that my pea-brain started putting two and two together.
“You seem to be dancing from foot to foot, to your own tune” he noted.And there I was, without a doubt, feeling the coziness of the pads in my motorcycle booties, seeking contentment in kneading pseudo “kitty cookies” with my own itty bitty (well, size 8 and ½) paws.
Indeed, the nerve that had been so painfully stomped upon earlier had clearly manifested itself; especially relative to the purchase of Christmas cards which I needed to hand-write and mail to my family back in the Mid-West; cards that I always signed from me, as well as from my heroic feline sidekick, Pretty.But, uch! Emotionally, I was stuck! Every time I pulled out the cards, I immediately burst into tears!
You see, for the last seventeen years, I’ve laid on my bed in my pajamas in December, sprawled out amongst all manner of cards, envelopes, labels, a printed book of addresses, Holiday stamps, various colored pens; and with repeated tender goading, nudging, and delicately scooping up my beloved kitty who took GREAT pleasure in stomping all over everything in her personal desire to “help”, I would finally finish my cards with true joy in my heart, filled with the Spirit of Christmas!Yet day after day this December, the stationery supplies sat woefully unattended to, as cheery holiday greetings flooded my snail mail box (including one lovely sentiment from my Great Aunt, who didn’t know about Pretty’s passing, and who had addressed the envelope to BOTH of us)...
Meanwhile, the spool of red, green and white ribbons that Pretty used to bat around, playfully chase and upon catching, floss her (remaining) teeth with, sat sadly un-slobbered on, and un-scissored into their usual festive curlicues; gift-wrap tissue paper lay unnervingly pristinely crinkle-free; and even the resilient roll of Scotch tape sitting directly on the carpet looked forlorn as it seemed to have lost its willpower to persevere, as not a single black cat-hair clung to its inate stickiness...But truth is, out of the two choices of all the displaced resentment in the world towards a wealthy (albeit not particularly self-aware) EP; or drinking the Kool-Aid myth that buying “things” would make me feel better, neither of the two provided any viable long-term solution.
And sucky as it sounded, I realized I had to yank my own ostrich head out of the sand, face the pain and breathe.>>><<<
Quite surprisingly, I found that hand-writing the Christmas cards seemed to be somewhat therapeutic! I’d managed to incorporate a small message in the final sentiments:“Much love, Penny. (And the Christmas Spirit of Pretty, who lovingly shedded on, and walked all over my cards for 17 years!)” -– a mere “footnote” (if you will!) to some; a fond remembrance to many, and a positively necessary “step” for me.
>>><<<Finishing up a few gifts for some of my co-workers last week, I spied amongst the Holiday trimmings at Target, a most delightful Pirate Wench Nutcracker statuette. Ooh, she had a black velvet skirt! Ooh, and she had a skull and crossbones painted on her! Ooh, and she was wielding a hearty pirate sword!
And like a wide-eyed little girl, I picked the bestest one out of the crowd of dollies, brought her home, played with her hair to get it just right with her bangs out of her face (good grief, even away from work, I’m concerned about proper lighting???), and planting her on my window sill to admire my ever-so Christmassy purchase, I made yet one more startling discovery about my psyche...I’m absolutely TERRIFIED of NUTCRACKERS!!! (Insert Hitchcock-ian “Reet! Reet! Reet!” noises from the shower scene in the movie Psycho!)
Hey, nothing like a little Christmas terror to bitch-slap me into the Holiday Spirit!!!Oh, but wait, kind readers, the Universe hadn’t quite completed its task...!
Opening my snail mail that evening, my heart was warmed by more well-wishing seasonal greetings from family and friends, all of whom had seemed to go out of their way and chosen elegant cards!(With glitter...!)
Pit-a-patting my hands together to slough off some gold dusting from one of my Aunts, I opened the next envelope which lovingly embraced me with a smattering of silver flecks; and trying to delicately tweeze open the third with a thumb and a forefinger, I mindlessly rubbed my chin as red and green sparkles bedazzled my hands, face and bedding.OK! OK! Alright already! Melancholy is certainly permitted during the holidays, but clearly The Universe had had enough of my woefulness, and had essentially glittered me up like a Christmas tree! Point taken! Yeesh!
Yet in a most surprising twist of Fate (and perhaps a Cosmic nod toward my warped sense of humor?), I’d accidently overlooked an envelope from my friends Scott and Troy, who own and operate “Dearly Departed – The Tragical History Tour”.Please do enjoy their unique creativity:
Moderately petrified, gently assimilating the Holiday Spirit and slowly working up the courage to take the next few steps all by myself (in imported boots!),~Sugar Plum P
P.S. As I’m obviously not the only person to lose a Loved One this year, my heart truly goes out to each and every one of you who are walking in the same shoes this Holiday Season, as you cope with the sadness and loss. I wish you comfort and peace.