Friday, October 01, 2010

foto friday: the bay

It's shocking that department stores stay in business since most furniture, appliances, clothing and electronics can now be found at other, more specialized, megastores for much less.  Still, department stores continue to be one of the last habitats that one can find elderly women grazing peacefully on weekday afternoons.

My great, great aunt Dodie, who passed away when I was 18, took me to department stores when I stayed with her.  Since she also took me to the ROM, Queen's Park, and Centre Island, I naturally assumed The Department Store belonged on a shortlist of Toronto's attractions. We'd wander down the cosmetic aisles, explore the toy department,  and visit the artificial trees displays at Christmas.  Once, only once, when I found a $20 bill on the sidewalk by sheer luck (also due to generally looking down when I walked to avoid stepping on cracks) I was granted permission to spend it.  All of it.  Thus began a long, rewarding relationship with shopping.

I set about spending this small fortune on practical items, and bought a white pair of gloves.  I'm pretty sure Dodie encouraged me to buy a pack of underwear while we were at it which can only lead me to believe that I forgot to pack more than one pair on that particular visit.  After these investments I wildly spent the rest on a chickadee ornament (made from real feathers!), a plastic toy from Wendy's, and chocolate.  There was none left.  Thus began a long, debilitating habit of guilt/reward-based shopping.

When recounting the story later to my mother, I made a point of mentioning the gloves first. 

Something old-world and glamourous still captivates me when I walk through a department store.  Maybe it's in the wide, white aisles, the complimentary lighting, the posters of famous actresses-turned-models shot with even more complimentary lighting, the offers to try the elegant new fragrance from this designer, the life-sized Barbies styled in the daring new line from that designer, or the Pavlovian effect from first tasting buyer's delight/regret.

More likely, it reminds me of Christmas and of walking hand in hand with Dodie.  When I see elderly ladies grazing peacefully on weekday afternoons, I think of her.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I still take my 91.5 year old Gran to her department stores when she needs to restock her 5 millionth pair of support, sheer stockings. This is so incredibly true! ;)