I took myself school shopping today. I have long since outgrown formal schooling, but I work at one and if I am not tired of seeing myself in all of last year's clothes, I'm sure the kids are. So this was a mission of compassion, really.
I went alone, which was probably my first mistake. I loathe shopping and it affects my digestive system in an adverse way. I also don't know what looks good on me and usually have to straw poll the entire dressing room. But today, I was a woman on a mission. I was shopping clearance racks and I just wanted to get the whole thing over with.
An hour into the excursion, I teetered to a dressing room laden with prospective articles. I tried on pants first. Then shirts with pants. Then pants with shirts again. I was nearing the end of the pile and was standing there clad only in my undergarments when I noticed a long sleeved button-down shirt I had not tried on yet. I put my left arm in the sleeve and started my right arm in the other to hitch the shirt into place when, just past my elbows something locked. That's right. The shirt just locked onto my arms like some sadistic straight jacket with super glue. It was hot in the dressing room and my arms were damp. Now beads of sweat began to form on my forehead. I looked at myself in the mirror and gasped. I was not wearing any of my best underwear--the kind your mother tells you to wear when you go out in case you're in an accident. They looked as tired and saggy as I felt. I don't generally choose to spend a lot of time naked in front of a mirror and certainly not in department store lighting. No one could see me like this! I couldn't get either arm out of the sleeves and both were pinned behind my back. Panic rose in my throat.
What should I do? RIP the shirt off like The Incredible Hulk and sheepishly pay for the remains? I struggled against the sleeves. They were well-sewn and felt even tighter than before. I needed someone to pull the shirt down from behind me. Maybe...I could push the handle down on the door with my knee and get the attendant's attention. Wait. Did I want the attendant's attention? Did I want to be seen like this? Would this story make the six o-clock news? I thrashed harder now, determined to get the blasted garment off if I had to dislocate both rotator cuffs in the process. Inch by inch the shirt fabric squeaked down each arm, first the right, then the left, until one (now hairless) arm was free. I yanked my captor off and whipped it triumphantly to the floor, panting with the effort.
I quickly donned my own safe (loose) clothing, pushed tangled hair out of my eyes, and gathered the clothing pile to return to the store clerk. I felt like a disheveled Clark Kent emerging from the phone booth after a very eventful Superman moment. "Did these things work for you today?" she asked smiling sweetly. I couldn't even respond. Evil did not triumph today. I would live to fight future dressing room battles. But next time? I'll bring a friend.