NORMAN — Will this make me happy every day?” I have a friend who asks herself that question every time she considers buying something.
I’m not talking about purchasing a house or a car. I’m talking about a woman who spent three and a half years searching for the perfect shower curtain.
Me, I once spent $2.99 on a shower curtain after looking around for two minutes, total, at a discount store. It was festooned with apples and oranges. When I stood in front of it, I felt as if I should belt out, “I’m Chiquita Banana and I’ve come to say, bananas have to ripen in a certain way.”
For three and a half years it didn’t bother me — not until I saw that my friend had found the Aristotelian ideal of a shower curtain.
Hers had elegance and elan. Mine had fruit. (I could never figure out why exactly. Who thought it was a good idea to turn a piece of fabric with fruit on it into bathroom accessory? Was it designed to invoke roughage? Was it simply bad taste?)These questions started keeping me up at night. Was my friend wiser to summon patience and select items carefully instead of employing my method, which was to swoop down on the sale bin like a seagull hovering over a landfill and plucking up whatever seemed shiny?
She was cautious in her choices whereas I was promiscuous. I’d give the time of day to whatever sale was winking at me; I’d be tugged in the direction of a cute promotional gimmick. She’d keep her eyes straight ahead and be faithful to her list. I’d been known to unashamedly grab something if I knew it would make me happy for a few months, a few weeks, even — dare I admit it? — a few days. That’s the kind of loose shopper I’ve always been.