A perk for me as a Jazz singer is the clothes! I love to wear all the glitzy dresses, and jewelery the more sparkle the better! But as a plus sized woman it’s not easy to find sexy dresses that have the chiffons and rhinestones etc. in
The southern hospitality is lovely, “yes ma’am, how can I help you” and the southern accents ring like the fragrance of sweet apple pie cooling on a warm breeze. So, my dress spree begins these glorious department stores where the air is cool and clothes racks are full! One particular dress that my cousin was wearing, I loved, had to have it. So off I go to search for it. We had been at the beach house for about 4 days, with people who ‘knew’ the area and did all the driving. (We were staying on a bit longer to make it a little bit more of a holiday) I paid close attention on how to get around and which way it was to the mall.
The first mall we ‘knew’ had many department stores not the one that I needed. So I drop my companion off and head off in the direction that I could remember. Wa la, I find it and it’s in wonderful mall area with more department stores. I head in find the dress, it’s one size smaller than I normally take, so I figure ‘try it on’. It kinda fits, but the next size up would be GREAT. In the mean time, I do find another dress. At the cash register the young girl asks me, “did you find every thing you want ma’am ?” I tell her no, that I could use a different size. She suggests calling another store and seeing if they have it, sure enough they do. Put that baby on hold, I’m on my way.
I ask her for directions, but she seems rather vague because she is so young and not an experienced driver. An older woman says that she knows where and begins giving me directions that I do not write down.... but the words BIG OL BRIDGE were some where in her instructions which lead to her sharing that she doesn’t like to drive on it. I thank her, she compliments the dress I am buying and off I go, to the department store next door which I have a wonderful credit card to use from a previous visit in a different state. Once again I find a lovely dress that will do for another show and a few other items. At the cash register I ask the gentlemen ringing in my clothes where the Dunn Avenue Mall is. He promptly starts these very simple directions that do not sound like the ones I was just given. Very easy to remember, I figure he MUST know what he’s talking about. Off I go to get ‘my dress’! I follow his instructions and after awhile I see it THE AVENUES MALL and the department store I am looking for! Proud of navigating through this huge city with success I head in, and ask the Sales rep for the dress that has been but on hold. She says, there is no dress on hold for me, I tell her the style and off we go to search. Nothing, I thought how weird, the other store phoned, gave the ID number and my name. I say the brand name and she says “ohhhhh we don’t carry that brand at THIS store” I said “I was told to go Dunn Avenue mall” she interrupts and says “oh, THIS is the ‘Avenues Mall’, Dun Avenue is on the other side of city.” Her co-worker promptly goes into the back and uses map quest for me, smart girl! She explains the directions but throws in tips that map-quest doesn’t tell you about. “When you get to this point, you want to move over to the 4th lane to the right and stay there so that you can take the correct exit. I leave confident with my map, and a couple of extra driving tips. Now, we all know that map quests times are approximate, and the directions could be out dated. Being a small city girl I had NO idea just how long it was going to take, or if I had taken the correct exit after the first turn. I continued noticing that some of the signs were the same ones on my map, whew. I traveled through what I realized was the ‘down town’ of the city. This place is HUGE! After each turn I argued with myself that it was a wrong turn and how the heck was I going to get turned around on these interstates, especially when once on them, the surroundings ALL LOOK THE SAME?!
My map quest was correct; I did heed her ‘extra’ instructions and got off the right exit. Only to find at this last turn, the mall should be there. I am lost. I see a girl walking along the side of the road I turn the car around and ask her ‘where the Dunn Avenue Mall is?” she says, “there is no mall around here.” I think WHAT!! She starts explaining where a mall is and that I would have to get back on the interstate and turn this way and that... my world is spinning at this moment, NO, way am I going back turn around to these instructions that don’t even closely resemble my map quest. I smile politely and tell her thank you. I look down at my instructions again and notice after my last turn I still had another 6 miles to go not a few feet!
SAVED!! I realized I have found my pot of gold, and casually go into the store. Since my ‘dress on hold’ call was 3 ½ hours ago, I decided that I would just go in and buy the dress. I wouldn’t embarrass myself of what should have been a 40 minute drive which took me in the complete wrong direction. There it was, I picked it out, tried it on, and yes it was a better fit. I promptly went to pay for it, speaking to no one to give my Canadian accent away. At the register, the woman starts to ring it in and then asks “are you the woman who called earlier about the dress?” I couldn’t believe it, how did she know? I didn’t speak I’m trying to blend in but it didn’t work. I thought about lying but said yes. She said “oh, well this is not the dress on hold for you, it’s this one” OH MY GOSH! It was an absolutely ugly dress, nothing that a jazz singer would wear, not even for casual gigs. I laughed and began to explain that I was rerouted to the ‘Avenues Mall’ and that it had taken me this long to get here for the wrong dress. She promptly starts to say “poor baby” and then proceeded to tell her co-workers and the other customers my plight. Soon everyone around was just shaking their heads in disbelief and compassion for this “poor baby that ended up at the wrong store in the wrong direction for the wrong dress taking all this time to get here. I loved hearing her singsong voice.
Success, I have the dress and now how to get back home? I ask these older women who are still calling me poor baby how to get home. But I don’t quite ‘know’ where home is. I tell them the name of the first mall that I was at. It wasn’t really recognizable to them, but together they told me to take a certain interstate North, but I thought to get here I was taking a North interstate. I tried to push aside my concern that they were telling me to go the same way in which I came, my experience is always go back from whence you came. I ignored my reasoning and took their advice. Off I went, doubting the whole time that I was going the right way, again concerned that each interstate looks the same; divided highways, 3-4 lanes and trees on both sides. I am amazed that the locals know where the heck they are with no land marks on these highways.
Then I begin to feel calm as I see the ‘big ole bridge’ that I had traveled on in previous days with the other visitors. I begin to laugh again at this crazy day of GREAT shopping, the thought of all this driving for a dress on hold I would never buy. With the possibility that the one I wanted might have not even been there!Diva M