Thursday, March 20, 2008

Only The Fashion Police Can Judge Me

There is little more unnerving than cleaning out your closet and taking your clothes to a consignment store. Let me explain.

I have a clothing addiction. It's been a problem since I first started my career as a mallrat in the 7th grade. I bought things that I thought were hip, but not suited to my body type, just because they were on sale at Contempo for $4. As I got into high school I would buy things that I would have to take in or fix because, well, this is a deal and just because the zipper is busted, well, $12 for this twill tube dress is just awesome! By college I had discovered the glory of eBay and the array of DIYers and thrift-store junkies that sold their goods therein. I wound up with clothes that didn't quite fit or that weren't quite like what they appeared as in the listing or that were so outrageous that I wore them to one party or on one day at class and then stuffed back into my teeny tiny exploding college dorm closet.

You can imagine how much my wardrobe expanded when I lived in Brooklyn for two years, with a professional salary to boot. I went to actual (not virtual) thrift stores, bargain stores like Daffy's, and neat local shops. There was an H&M on almost any corner and I knew where to find the best sales at the cool boutiques. When I started packing to move to Austin, I found tons of clothes that still had the sales tags in my closet. In addition, you can imagine, I pulled out many skirts, jackets, shoes and t-shirts that were never going to see the light of day again. And, so, I took them to Beacon's Closet, the hippest thrift store I'd ever been to, and dumped my items on their counter.

My boyfriend, Mark, came with me that day for emotional support. We went to lunch while they evaluated my goods, and I dreamed of the pile of money I was going to rake in. Much to my chagrin, I became only $11 richer that day, despite the designer jeans (still with tags!), funky vintage waitress dresses, trendy shoes and cashmere sweaters I had in the huge bag. They told me "we bought these two pair of shoes which will retail for $35," and gave me a voucher to cash at the front of the store. My heart pretty much dunked itself in sadsauce, but I had already resolved to, for the sake of the move, give whatever the didn't take to charity. I took my $11 and swallowed my pride.

Pride, because, what feels worse than a bunch of hipsters telling you "only two pairs of shoes in this whole bag of swag are cool enough for our store"? My answer is this: hipsters going through even MORE of your clothes in an even HIPPER town while you watch them reject pieces one by one.

Today my dear friend Katy gave up some of her time to take me and four big shopping bags' worth of clothes and shoes to a really cool shop called the Buffalo Exchange. Apparently this is a national chain, so you might have one near you. Reader, I must tell you, get thee to one of their locations should you find one in your area. What variety! What style! What a disaster for a girl on a mission to save more money this year! Katy and I browsed the aisles briefly while one of the super-hip store managers began to evaluate my clothes. Quickly we decided to go back to the counter before either of us were tempted to part with some sweet, sweet green. I found myself eying her, praying in my head each time she grabbed an item out of the bag: Please take this one, please take this one, this one is sooooo awesome!

Damn. It's like being personally evaluated on a cool-o-meter over and over. In my head I imagined her saying "Wow, this girl is so lame — she bought this hideous sweater!" and "Jesus, why would she think this is hip? This isn't vintage, this is dated!" and "There's 'so ugly it's cute,' and 'so ugly it should be burned!'" I supposed I live more in fear of judgment than the average gal, but I'm willing to bet I'm not the only person who feels this way at the counter of a consignment store. At least I made more than $11 today. I walked out with a clean $53.20. And promptly took Katy on a very romantic date at Sonic. We even shared dessert.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Dynamic is All to Boom

Recently, my boyfriend and I watched that episode of The Simpsons where Milhouse and his mom move to Capital City and Milhouse goes all bling bling and Bart is instantaneously lonely. I've never had my best friend move away before. Until Amelia left.

I moved to Austin last month, just in time to catch some quality time with my best friend, Amelia, before she moved back to her home state of Arizona. This move occurred on Friday. Amelia, the trooper, drove all 900 miles in one day. And I rode the bus wearing my "Where the heck is Copperas Cove, TX? t-shirt that Amelia brought me from her now former town.

I found myself at some of the places Amelia and I went the first time I came to Austin, and looking for her favorite ice cream flavor (Vosges Naga - a curry flavor - weird but delicious!) at Whole Foods. I couldn't write about it. Standing at the bus stop I texted her:

"Some jerk is taking up the whole bus stop bench with his leg."
"Ew now he moved and his fat hairy crack is falling out of his pants!"
"Better crack than junk!"

The bus was late. It was just after rush hour. A long trail of traffic stretched down Lamar from the stop light. Two old men in a pick up truck were waving and moving their lips. In New York I would have ignored them, but apparently in Texas talking to strangers on the side of the road is totally normal and almost expected. I took off my headphones.

"Take 190 from I35!"

Before the traffic moved, I told the old man about Amelia and he told me that she was lucky, and gave Cove the thumbs-down. I texted her again.

"Some old dude in a truck saw me at the bus stop and gave me directions to Cove."
"Oman laffo!"
"Srs. He said you're lucky!"
"Don't I know it!"

And she is. She's going back to Arizona where her family is, and a lot of her friends. She'll have people to help her with her little girl while her husband is in Iraq.

On Thursday night, before the Great Escape from Texas, we had our last hurrahs. Mark took us to the Alamo Drafthouse to see Be Kind, Rewind - it was hilarious and sentimental, and artsy enough to quell Mark (who is just about the biggest movie snob ever). We found our friends Katy and Sarah (like little sisters to Amelia and I both) and frolicked on 6th street. I watched her almost lick the building that houses Emo's, a very scenester nightclub that Amelia never actually made it to during her time here. We shared a peach-flavored cigarette from Sarah's 75-cent pack (don't tell my gran. I don't really smoke). We laughed at the skinny sorority girls wearing their teeny tiny uniforms. We let her dogs out in my yard, where they peed on my fence. And, in the morning, she came in to wake me up, told me that I didn't have to get out of bed, and said goodbye to my cats, and then to me.

I miss her.