It was Sunday. A cool, breezy day in February, one filled with puffy clouds and birdsong. But not where we were. There, the only noises were the whoosh of cars on pavement and the claxon squeals of the occasional fire truck. It was getting late in the afternoon, and the sun was falling slowly down the blue canvas of sky. Surrounded by concrete and strollers inside the establishment, I sat awaiting my friend. While people-watching is generally a very enjoyable pastime of mine, that day it was so crowded my optic orbs could not focus, and kept leaping from wild hairdo to wilder pants and back again. It was sheer visual overload. So I stared at the plants mostly; a crazy mix of cacti and succulents, orchids and lilies.
At last my friend arrived, and we commenced the arduous process of navigating the throngs of people. Our main stop was Anthropologie. A decadent display of creative decorations and vibrant patterned clothes kept us circling dizzily through the store, until at last, we had to leave. It didn’t help that there too, it was a mass of shoppers. Elbows a-flying, the Sunday shopper is by far the most dangerous.
But make it out we did, and proceeded to have absolutely no clue as to what to do next. So, being the madly imaginative people we were, we decided to just wander around and see what stores caught our fancy.
I distinctly remember going in to Barney’s. The store just looked rich, and being young, impressionable and insecure, we decided to up our status by walking on sacred ground. There really was very little merchandise. I’ve seen more quantity in half the space, but that’s the whole idea. Too much square footage per article equals luxury. It was very quiet, with hardly any music; only the soft murmurs of the sales associates marred the calm. The furniture was exquisite, the architecture unique, the clothes…downright odd. One wonders who buys such stuff. Really.
After making our way out, it was again a tough decision on where to go next. Fortunately, or something like fortune anyway, we saw the Gucci store below us. My friend pointed out a very large man inside, mentioning that he looked like a guard. I don’t think I was paying attention.
After taking much longer than necessary to find the escalators, we headed down to the gilded front of Gucci and peered inside. It looked shiny, dark, and smelly to me.
We decided to brave it regardless of first impressions. As we made to go in, a man cut in front of us. I swear he was someone famous. He looked like a rapper, had total swag, was wearing sunglasses, and was dressed down to the nines. And…even more impressive, he hugged the security guard like an old friend and broo-hawed with all the workers. You must be famous to know the Gucci workers and the guard.
A little awestruck, we followed. We did not, however, hug the security guard. Rather, we almost ran for our life. Although perfectly mannered and polite, the seven-foot, black-suited dead ringer for Morpheus exuded the air of, “touch anything and you die.”
We walked hurriedly through the store, which turned out to be shiny, dark, and smelly. Also highly lacking in anything we would want to buy. Not that I was overly disappointed. The price range isn’t exactly suited for a college student. As we left, we scurried away from the piercing glare of the guard and his ominous last words, “Thanks ladies. Ya’ll have a nice day.”
It was a narrow escape, and we both breathed a mutual sigh of relief as we put distance between us and those shiny gold bars. Somehow, I don’t think Gucci will be high on our list of places to visit often.