Shopping for A Shirt


I’m doing my usual walk around the mall, when I’m feeling an emptiness inside that could only be temporarily sated by consumerism.  I usually make a detour up the stairs and back down on the other side of the mall.  Not today, I thought, I will be a bit adventurous today and maybe buy that expensive toy I wanted.  Just so, I could not avoid the annoying booth lady, who was wearing a tight baby doll shirt and a skirt that seems to defy the laws of physics.  A man in brown was fending himself from her advances and also her wares.  I thought it was my lucky day to have her preoccupied, so I advanced towards them quickly, hopefully to bypass them.  When she saw me, she seemed to latch onto me like a homing missile. 

 

“You look quite handsome today.”

 

“No, thanks, I won’t be needing that today,“ I replied automatically.

 

All of the sudden, I felt like a horrible human being such a jerk. It seemed as if she would haunt me around the mall, at least in my mind, so I stopped and gave in to her.

 

 She had my full attention now and a victorious smile spread on her face like the morning sun.  I looked upon her face for the first time and noticed the creased rays from her eyes, the unreal blue of her eye shadow, and the sun aged skin.  I now saw her as someone who might have children and was having a fairly difficult day trying to feed them.   All of this weighed heavily on my conscious.

 

Her demeanor changed suddenly from peddler to confidante.  She led me back towards her base of operations: a small little kiosk that sold cheap jewelry, headbands, and t-shirts. 

 

“Would you like to try on an e-shirt?”  She asked me, her eyes darting furtively to check for approaching customers.

 

“Do you mean t-shirts?”

 

She leaned forward, “No, I mean these new e-shirts. The ‘e’ stands for electronic.”

 

I sighed.  She said electronic with a nasal intonation that seemed to suggest she didn’t even understand what the word meant. “Well, uh, maybe.  Whatever these e-shirts are, they’re probably just t-shirts anyway.”

 

“No, no, not t-shirts!”  She repeated, and busied herself with rummaging through a low cabinet.

 

Finally, she found her target and popped back up beside me.  She offered me in outstretched hands a black t-shirt.   I must have had a look of disbelief mixed with anger, so she said, “Do not be angry with me! You must try it on to understand.”

 

I grudgingly took the shirt from her and pulled it over my head. “I don’t see what’s the big deal about this boring black t-shirt.”

 

“Look!” She pointed to woman pushing a stroller near us.  As they walked by, I saw she was wearing a shirt that was the most vivid display of the human internal organs I had ever seen.  I could see her heart beat.  Her stomach was fairly empty.  As she walked by, on her back, I saw this display:

 

34

Seattle, Wa

Allergic to cats

 

I nearly shook with disbelief. I looked down on my shirt and saw that it remained blank.  The booth lady smiled at me kindly, as if I were a child.  “You haven’t paid for your shirt yet.”

 

“Wait, so you mean everyone can see every intimate detail about me, my health, my personal information.”

 

“No, no, not everyone, just those who wear e-shirts!”

 

“Why would I want to do this?”

 

Now it was her turn to sigh, “Well, I don’t do this for most of my customers, but I will let you try some more features of this e-shirt.  You are just seeing the default settings.”

 

She tapped a few keys at her console.  When she was done, we looked together into a quiet group of college girls loitering outside the cosmetic store.  Above their heads, I could see what seemed to be thought bubbles.  From what I read while I was permitted this demonstration:

 

Girl1: I want to check out the Macy’s.

Girl2: No, there’s nothing good there.

Girl1: Whatever.

Girl3: Let’s get something to eat.

 

I turned back to the booth, as the conversation was uninteresting even to eavesdrop. “You mean to say that I can not even participate in this conversation without this e-shirt?”

 

“Now, you are beginning to understand.”   She smiled a smile that was even brighter than before, “So, would you like to buy one?”

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. bytex64
    May 25, 2011 @ 08:57:37

    NO I WILL NOT JOIN FACEBOO… Oh, sorry. Knee-jerk reaction.Good story. It paints the absurdity of social network sites and their attractive information overload with the same brush. I like it. 🙂

    Reply

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