Some things you learn the hard way.
And some you never learn at all.
Many years ago, I needed a bathing suit for a vacation in August. No problem. The weather was sweltering, so I assumed I’d have my pick of suits. It was nearing the end of the season, so I’d likely get a decent discount to boot.
But of course, I couldn’t find a bathing suit anywhere. I’d walked past racks and racks of them all summer, but when I went to Target what did I find in the bathing suit area?
Coats! Fall jackets, cable knit sweaters, and rain boots.
I scoured every department store in the tri-state area and came up empty.
At Dick’s, I was narrowly saved when I discovered a tiny selection of athletic one-piece suits designed for collegiate swimmers. I could only hope the lifeguards wouldn’t assume I knew what I was doing and accidentally let me drown.
Fast-forward to yesterday. I wanted a warmer coat this year, but the weather has been so mild that I hadn’t gotten around to it. Remembering the bathing suit fiasco, I wondered if I’d again waited too long.
But when Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and foretold six more weeks of winter, I knew I had plenty of time. It was snowing and freezing and February, for goodness sakes! There was enough winter left that I might not even get a good sale price.
I sprinted over to Dick’s and found nothing but coats that required a PhD to operate. They had removable inner linings, removable hoods, reversible insides, reversible outsides, and sixteen zippers. I was almost relieved they only had size 3XL in stock.
I went next to JCPenney, confidently making my way to the seasonal section.
You know, wise reader, what I found there, don’t you?
Sometimes you can hear the universe laughing at you.
Fortunately, I found a few winter coats on a clearance rack. I didn’t let myself get my hopes up, but soon I found just what I was looking for in my size and sixty percent off.
So what I’ve learned is this: when it’s snowing out, buy a bikini. And when you’re sweating yourself into a puddle, buy a winter coat.
Or have I? After all, I left JCPenney yesterday with a winter coat and not a bathing suit.
If you see me next summer in a lifeguard’s suit, we’ll both know the answer.
Hello Melanie, I do enjoy reading your short stories and every time can relate entirely to what you have said. It is exactly the same sort of thing happening here in Australia. Living in the hottest State in Australia – Queensland – it is very funny to see woollen cardigans and boots for sale. I do not possess a coat at all and have a couple of cardigans I brought with me from England, but I have never worn them. Bathers are for sale all year round.