I am not a fussy person. I never have been. I pretty much go with the flow, and avoid confrontation at all costs.
So, when I seemed persnickety to the Pottery Barn sales associate whose hair was pulled so tightly into a bun that her eyebrows met her hairline, it took me a few minutes to realize that her reply was beyond snarky, and totally unprofessional.
Let’s go back in time to last Spring when Richard and I decided that, while we loved the view of our backyard from the picture windows in our living room, when summer arrived, the heat from the sun would be unbearable in that room, as it has been for the past 9 years we have lived here.
I loved having the windows uncovered because I could look out at the birdfeeders, always clutching the book “Birds of Illinois Field Guide”, (Oh, shut up. I am not a nerd.) and dog-ear the pages of the birds I saw in our yard. I always feel a sense of pride when I see the Mourning Doves, Cardinals, Goldfinches, and Common Grackles that have called our backyard home for the past few years. I feel I have done a good job in supplying them with a nice, nutritious birdseed blend, (No. I don’t mix my own. Yet.) and fresh water from the massive Italian fountain we inherited with the house that when my friend Kelly saw prompted her to scream, “Call the Vatican and see if something’s missing!”
I still get a thrill when I see the usuals in our backyard, including a Mallard duck couple that likes to take an early morning dip in our pool. When Richard and I first saw the ducks in the pool one morning, I said, “That is so cool.” Richard said, “That is so gross,” as he headed outside toward the pool with some chlorine tablets.
This year we had our very own family of Red Winged Black Birds, and a Cooper’s Hawk, who used to just visit from time to time, but now seems to like our yard in a more permanent fashion. I used to only see the Red Winged Black Birds at the golf course across the street, so it was exciting to know that some of them, at least, had chosen to live in our yard instead of the golf course.
Richard and I even became members of The Audubon Society in an attempt to “do something together” and went to a meeting at a local nature center one cold, snowy night. While discussing ways in which we could all work together to be more “green” for our fine feathered friends, most of the people blamed the big, bad oil companies for the demise of many of our beaked buddies. To put it lightly, Richard and I don’t see eye to eye politically. So, on this cold, snowy night, Richard, whose favorite president was Ronald Reagan, said, “How many of you rode your bikes here?” For some reason, those nice people never invited us back to another meeting.
Anyway, back to the curtains. I didn’t want to cover the windows too much because I didn’t want to obscure my bird watching view. Also, I wanted something in a light-weight material because I always thought it was romantic when sheer curtains played in the breeze from an open window.
I usually don’t know what I want when I need to buy something. For instance, when we needed a new toilet in our bathroom, and we decided to install it ourselves, (Still think I’m a nerd?) we looked at a lot of toilets. My needs are simple: a seat and a flusher. But, now toilets come in all different shapes and heights. Heights?
I guess that makes sense. I remember going to a friend’s new house and noticing how tall her kitchen counters were. But, she and her husband were each about 6-feet tall, so it made sense for them to have taller countertops and cabinets that I couldn’t even open while standing at the very top of a step stool. So, speaking of stool, if you’re tall, you may like the option of having more “leverage” when taking care of business.
For some reason, we went with the taller model of a toilet. We had recently purchased a new bed, after 20 years, and I knew from staying at hotels that I liked having to take a running start to jump into a high bed. I don’t know why I thought that having a tall toilet would instill that much joy into my life because it really and truly doesn’t. I can’t get “leverage” because my feet dangle like a child’s who is sitting in her father’s desk chair at work. If you remember “Edith Ann” from “Laugh-In” sitting in that oversized rocking chair, that’s the truth. (Insert raspberry noise here.)
So enough about the toilet. Let’s get back to the windows.
So, we walk into Pottery Barn, after not finding anything we liked at Restoration Hardware, World Market, Crate and Barrel, and a myriad of other home furnishing stores. I decided to be very specific when talking to the lady with the too-tight hair bun, so as not to waste her time. I was pretty sure of what I was looking for after leaving so many other stores that had what I wasn’t looking for.
I said, “We need curtains, but I want white ones that blow in the breeze, that don’t necessarily cover the windows completely, but just enough to keep the burning afternoon sun out of the room. Ya know what I mean? I want to block out just a little of the sun, not all of it. Oh, and it would be lovely if they had little eyelets in them to make the room seem fresh and breezy.”
She looked at me and said, “Of course you do.”
“Well,” I thought to myself as she walked into the back room to see if she had the curtains I had specified, “she was awfully accommodating.” Then it hit me. She wasn’t being nice or accommodating. She was mocking me. She was making fun of me. By saying, “Of course you do,” to me, she was pretty much saying “Oh, God. Here’s another North Shore bitch who wants this, but not that, and only in this color, but not that color, and oh-my-God, please let them have eyelets and be breezy, so they waft ever so gently in the afternoon, as she sits eating bon bons on her throne.”
Apparently, Richard had understood her response immediately because when I looked over at him to ask him if she seemed a little rude, he was convulsing in laughter in the bath towel section.
I went over to him and said, “I thought she was being nice, but now I think she was mocking me.”
Richard tried to form words, but just kept laughing.
“I’m getting out of here,” I said. “If that bitch of a saleswoman finds what I’m looking for, I’ll be waiting outside.”
“Of course you will,” he replied.
A few minutes later, after I had walked outside and was staring longingly into the window of the awesomeness that is Williams Sonoma, Richard came out and said the saleswoman didn’t have what I was looking for.
“Of course she didn’t,” I said. “And,” I continued, “even if she did, there’s no way I would have bought anything from that vulgar plebian. Let’s go to Target.”
At Target, we found exactly what we had been looking for all along. We bought a rod to go with the curtains and went home to put them up over the windows. They were perfect. Of course they were.
Now, I love pulling the curtains back just a little, and settling into the sofa with my trusty “Birds of Illinois Field Guide.” I also occasionally bring along a few other field guides, my binoculars and a note pad so I can keep count of how many of each species of bird I see so I can quickly cross-reference them in my bird books. Ok. Maybe I am a nerd. Of course I am.
But, if I am a nerd, I am a nerd with the exact curtains I wanted and am very happy when I can take the time to watch the birds and squirrels frolic around in our backyard. Will I ever go back to Pottery Barn for anything ever again? Of course I won’t. I’ll go to Target, thank you very much.