Last Christmas my wife received a number of well-intentioned presents from me. Her reactions to her gifts ranged from gently purring, “Oh, Honey, you really shouldn’t have” to curtly stating, “you REALLY shouldn’t have!”
Shopping malls have always confused me. One time I drove into a mall parking lot where I was required to memorize a parking locator sequence code that guaranteed that no one could possibly lose track of their car’s location. As I walked into the mall after repeating my code to myself 30 or 40 times, “Section 643 West, Michigan, Row T, stall 128” I realized I’d forgotten why I came to the mall in the first place. So I promptly turned around and headed back to my car to go home. After wandering hopelessly for about an hour, a sympathetic security officer kindly picked me up and dropped me off at my car. (It was in Row G.)
But for this trip to the mall I was able to persuade a friend to pick me up and drive me there and back. Once safely in the mall, I slowly walked by a not-so-secret women’s clothing establishment well known for selling high fashioned lingerie and night-wear. After glancing at a few of their selections, I decided Laura would definitely prefer something more sensible, more practical, something that offered more substance to be able to cope with our long, cold Minnesota winters.
My next stop was at P.J.’s ‘R Us. The place was packed with persistent pajama purchasers. All of the store clerks were dressed in pajamas and obviously loving it. I guess it was an extreme version of corporate casual. Even the mannequins looked comfortable.
As I began sorting through the dozens of racks of pajamas, I happened to be standing nearby a bank of dressing rooms. The store clerks were busily re-racking items that had been tried-on and rejected. It occurred to me that there was something troubling about other people trying on my pajamas before me. To me, pajamas fall into the same category as underwear. I’m not interested in my under-garments being pre-worn by anyone else. I want my ‘jams in pristine condition when I try them on for the first time. And I knew Laura would feel the same way.
Feeling discouraged, I treated myself to a Mrs. Fields cookie while considering my remaining options. As I glanced up from my wire-mesh mall bench, I spotted it. It was the store I had been searching for. I won’t share the name, but it’s synonymous with the lowest denomination of American currency available.
Fast-forward to Christmas day. The level of anticipation in the room was palpable as Laura opened her carefully wrapped package. She cut open the hermetically sealed plastic bag direct from the pajama factory. She realized I had generously splurged by upgrading to the triple-thick flannel variety. She rushed to her dressing area to try them on. When she returned, she had a partially satisfied look on her face. But that look didn’t last for long. It turns out that triple-thick flannels are about a half-inch thick and they don’t exactly breathe very well. The fact that they were form fitting also didn’t help the heat index factor.
As she inspected the “fit” in her full-length mirror, she noticed some extra buttons on the sides. “What are these extra buttons for?” she asked. Moments later, beads of perspiration began to collect on her brow. Her frantic attempt to remove her overly snug, less than fashionable pajamas had less to do with amorous feelings toward me and more to do with a desperate attempt to lower her quickly escalating core body temperature. I was hoping she’d think they were “hot,” but in a different sort of way.
During my confession, I admitted where I had purchased the garment, that I had only paid $14.95 for them, and that I had shamelessly chosen them out of the “Senior Saver” clearance bin. I sheepishly informed her that the extra buttons on the sides (that I was hoping she wouldn’t notice) were for people to be able to fasten an adult diaper for a little extra protection during the night.
I completely understood when she decided to give her pajamas away to the local senior citizen home. It’s comforting to know that some octogenarian is happily romping around the senior center wearing Laura’s cast off “toasty ‘jams” and she may even appreciate the extra buttons. .