My 15 year old (yes, you are still only 15 Abby, your birthday is not for another 3 months - YOU ARE STILL 15 - DO YOU HEAR ME?) needed a new practice suit for her high school’s swim team, which begins next week. Fine. I should have known we were in trouble when she asked to go to Sports Fair (which really should be called Swim Fair because they don’t sell any equipment for sports other than swimming) rather than go to Sports Authority.
The first bump in the road occurred when we drove to the store. My son used to swim, so I remember exactly where the store was (God knows I’ve written enough checks there). The store was gone - replaced by a nail salon -“well, can I get my nails done while we’re here?” she asked, clearly annoyed that I had dodged yet another attempt on her part to make me part with my hard earned money. I won’t repeat what I said, but I was scolded by my 15 year old for using the word “Fuck” too often this morning (mouthy teen!).
We drove home. We had lunch - Abby had a grilled cheese with monterey jack, one piece of swiss and 4 slices of bacon. I had a yogurt and a granola bar (still with me? - riveting stuff, damn straight yo!). Went online to check and see if in fact Sport Fair was still in business. It was, and oddly enough, still housed in the same store front as the nail salon.
I hate incompetence - especially on a Saturday - when I could be on tumblr looking at the same old pictures of Christoph Waltz (not complaining mind you). If you’ve moved your location, you really need to change it online, otherwise, how will I find you? Who will I give my money to (really there’s little enough of it?)
Eventually we found it (I had written down the old street number - sigh - further incompetence on a Saturday). Abby however was elated, as she was certain that I had the wrong number, and she had the correct one. Rather than utter another expletive, I praised her brilliance and exclaimed that “You can never leave me Abby - EVER!” This had the desired effect, of stopping her fist pumping and throwing her hair around.
We entered the new store. It looked like something that should have been on Rodeo Drive instead of Lee Highway (across the street from a strip mall). Blond hardwood floors, glass and teak counters. “Well, I now know why I was being charged a 500% markup for bathing caps last year,” I said looking around. “Mmaaaahm stop!,” said a mortified Abby, turning her head quickly from side to side as if on some sort of caffeine induced scavenger hunt.
Three very cute boys were working the counter. “Hey, what are y’all looking for today?” asked the boy with the curly brown hair and skinny jeans. “Lacrosse sticks,” I answered smiling. “Sssshhhh Mom!” Abby said. “Uh, I need a suit,” she said. “Cool, for practice or team?” he asked, batting his big brown eyes. “Practice,” replied my daughter, smiling shyly. “High school practice,” I said giving him my best Joan Crawford stare. “Cool. Do you know what brand - Tyr or Speedo?” This was already getting on my nerves. “Um Splish,” replied Abby. Big smile on the cute boy’s face. “Spliiiiiiish, very cool. Do you know which design?” He asked strolling across the floor, toward a rack of suits. “Um, the double rainbow.” Abby replied. This stopped him dead in his tracks. “Oh,” he said shaking his head sadly. “No, we’re like way … ” didn’t even finish his sentence and Abby picked right up “gone?” she asked pouting. “Yeah,” he said sadly. Their relationship was now going through a rough patch. “That’s ok, I can try one on here for size and then order it from their website,” she said walking over to the rack. “Nnnnnoooo, no, no, no,” I said. Just find a different design and buy it here. If you order online I’ve got to pay a shipping fee.” I said, letting Abby know who wore the pants in this mother/daughter relationship. “No Mom, you don’t understand,” Abby said, shaking that hair again. The cute boy with eyelashes quickly backed away. “Yeah I understand, you all want to have the same suit. Just tell your friends that the plan has changed and you’re now buying a different one.” “Nnoooooo, whined Abby. “I ca… oh, wait this is cute. Oh this is funny, look at this one. Oooooo I like this one.” Metal hangers wizzed across the rack at breakneck speed. Joan Crawford would have been rendered catatonic.
I was now standing in front of what arguably must be the ugliest bathing suits ever created. “These are Splish,?” I asked incredulously. “Yeah aren’t they great?” Abby held one up for me to see. It looked as if someone had slapped kiddy stickers all over it. “Oh my god, they’re hideous. Abby are you serious, this is what you want to practice in?” “Yeah, we’re all going to get them.” she answered, eyeing the bathing suit. Cute boy returned smiling, obviously relieved that the mother/daughter drama had concluded. “Do you want to try that on?,” he asked grinning and nodding. Honestly, I could have slapped him! “Um yeah,” Abby answered, smiling and looking down shyly at her top-sider encased feet. Oh gag, I thought to myself, unsure at this point who I wanted to slap more - cute boy or my daughter who was now visibly mooing over him. “Abby!” I wanted to say, “for God’s sake, pull yourself together!” I steered her toward the dressing room, away from cute boy.
After trying on 6 suits, each one more hideous than the other, she settled on one. I brought the suit to the counter, where cute boy #2 (who obviously was a step above cute boy, as he was allowed to use the register), proceeded to ring up our purchase. $57.71 is your total, he said smiling. “Are you fucking kidding me?” “Mmmmmaaaaahhhhhmmmmmm!