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.