I went to Kmart today during my lunch hour with the intention of buying a new toaster.
My current toaster is about five years old and on its last legs. It chronically misbehaves and requires tending to ensure items are evenly browned on both sides.
To make toast, I let the bread brown on one side, flip it over and let it brown on the other side. It doesn’t matter which of the four slots or which setting I use – the routine must be the same to get picture-perfect toast.
Woe is me if I get distracted. After popping in the bread, I reach in the ‘fridge to get the butter and inevitably eye some old lettuce or other food item about to sprout fuzz. I walk the bad food over to the trash can hidden in the pantry. Louis the Opportunist (my cat) runs in the pantry and has to be fished out before I close the door. Then the phone rings.
One thing leads to another and before you know it, I have burnt toast.
Yes, I have tried scraping off some of the black stuff with a knife, but really, that’s more trouble than it’s worth. I have to rinse out the sink right away because scraping toast creates a peppery mess. Then I must rinse the knife because if I don’t, tiny burnt toast shavings riding on the knife taint the butter supply. Between sink and knife duty, the toast is cold by the time I get ready to slather on the butter.
So I never scrape. I also decided over the weekend that I have wasted enough bread, which is why I am browsing through the toasters at Kmart.
I’m a little disappointed at the selection. The temporary sale tags explain why. Apparently I’m not the only person in Havasu who needed a new toaster this week.
The model I like is only available in red. I pull a box down off the shelf and cradle it in my arms. I pause. It’s a bold move for me, buying a red toaster. I stare at the floor model. Can I really live with that color? I know it is cheerful, but is it really the first bright thing I want to see when I’m stumbling around the kitchen in the morning? My current home décor leans toward the organic, decorated in soothing shades of green and brown. A red toaster could be construed as a punch in the nose.
I decide to live a little. Maybe it’s time to depart from the sleep-inducing color palette and punch things up a bit. The red toaster could be my inspiration piece, the springboard for a whole new decorating scheme. I decide that if the red toaster truly offends me in the morning, I can always avoid looking at it. Besides, I might really like it come afternoon.
I take two steps in the direction of the checkout lanes when I remember my burnt sienna kitchen rug and burnt sienna kitchen towels. Red and orange together? Blasphemy! If I was color blind, maybe. But I’m not. Red! Am I out of my ever-loving mind? Am I really ready to adopt such a dramatic change?
I do an about face, put the toaster back on the shelf and stomp off. I could get the red toaster, but then I would have to purchase a new rug and new towels. I’m getting ready to move and don’t want to buy all new stuff right now.
What if red is just too bold? I would have to suffer and live with my decision, particularly if the toaster functioned well and its only crime was being red. It’s such a big commitment.
I believe you need to live in a new space with most of your current stuff – for a few days at least – to absorb the vibes, find the hot spots and figure out how your possessions can be incorporated into the new dwelling. Then, if need be, you begin the process of replacing things.
I’m not in the replacement mood today. I just want a new toaster.
I wander away from the Kmart’s home section, deciding that I’ll live with my dysfunctional toaster a few days longer. All of a sudden, I find myself in the shoe aisle.
Now this is not a slam against Kmart, but I don’t buy shoes there. I’m not a snob, but the store’s shoes have never fit my skinny feet. I’ve tried. I’ve bought a couple of pairs, but they end up collecting dust because they are not totally and completely comfortable after all. I’m of the age where my feet bite back if they are not coddled. So I spoil them rotten and wear only comfortable shoes. Period.
Since browsing is not against the law, I have a look around. I spot a pair of zebra-print high heels. In size 7!
They’re so funky, they’re cute. I slip one on. It’s comfortable. I try on the other. It’s comfortable, too. I take a lap around the shoe racks. They fit! I push myself through a couple of more laps, picking up the pace to see if a real pounding sets off a wave of pinching and squeezing.
Nothing happens, which means the zebra shoes have officially passed the first test. I feel a little giddy. The style is way over the top for me. I’ve got to find a mirror, to see the truth. I am wearing khaki pants and a t-shirt, so I know the big picture is going to be sketchy at best.
I find a mirror and sha-zam! It is love at first sight. As I stand there adoring the zebra print shoes on my feet, I recall a long-ago slogan that a shoe company once used:
She used to be conservative, and then she got those shoes.
Is that me? It might be, in these shoes. I remove them and put them back in the box. I eye the empty slot on the shelf where the box in my hands used to sit.
I should put the shoes back. What will I wear them with? Will they inadvertently cause a fashion crisis for me? Will I need to buy something new to go with them? I didn’t want to buy towels and a rug to go with the red toaster. How could I justify buying a new outfit to go with the zebra shoes?
I throw caution to the wind and march towards the checkout counter. I need to buy the shoes right now, before I lose my nerve.
I put the shoes on the counter, and the clerk – a young man – asked me if I found everything I was looking for today.
“I came in here to buy a toaster,” I said quietly.
I’m debating again. Maybe I should put the shoes back and get the red toaster.
The clerk peers in the box.
“These aren’t a toaster,” he says brightly.
“No, they’re not, but I’ll take them anyway,” I replied.
I buy the shoes for $16, which happens to be about the same price as the red toaster.
But that toaster wouldn’t look nearly as cute on my feet.