I was up and out to the Apple store yesterday. My iPhone 8+’s dropped calls, increasingly meek volume, and oversized heaviness when I take it for a run has had me looking at others. We’ve had a long relationship all these years and I’ve kept it safe inside a sweet yellow flowered cover. Even though its oversized screen once turned me on, it’s now time to slim down. Word is that the SE i-Phone is pint sized yet mighty and a bargain too, and after I held one, I knew that was it. Bullnosed corners as smooth as a stainless kitchen island’s and tiny, so all your fingers wrap around it, this phone is petite and curvy and lightweight, and it slides down in your pocket instead of always sticking up.
Lenox Square’s new Apple store space fronts Peachtree Street and the window wall is bright and welcoming, and on this Tuesday morning void of the usual crowds. My sales person, Stef, was quick and smart and kind, and generous, too. After noticing the small chip on the corner of my phone she remarked, “We didn’t see that, did we?” and went on to credit me the full $160 trade in. She kept tabs on me as she hopped between customers, and I refreshed the SE’s tiny screen as it assumed my T-Mobile number and went about absorbing my apps and data too. We were done in no time, Stef, the SE and me, and I was released into the mall lighter, the now naked faceless 8+ staying behind. So long, old girl, you were great.
Next on the list was breezing through the Gap. I had a gift card and they have great tees and underwear. Win win. I walked past the space turning around again because it’d been a while and I must have just passed it. Nope, it’s vanished. Poof, no Gap. The Simon Mall desk guy proclaimed it official: the Gap has left the building. Damn.
Refusing to give up, I opted to give Bloomingdales a try. It’s calmer than cluttered Macy’s, though not exactly the price point I was after. The upper floor lingerie department was eerily quiet, and the clearance rack tucked in a carpeted corner was picked over, but I motored through it because I wasn’t leaving empty handed. Ten minutes in, the carpet underfoot felt uncomfortably thick, and the whole place seemed shop-vacced of its air. I realize I’m middle aged and on a cancer treatment pill that hurls you back into menopause, but my god, it’s hot in here!
A guy came by asking if I needed help, but I couldn’t imagine this was his department nor was I up for seeing if he knew what a racerback bra was and where in this heat one might be hanging. “Is it warm in here to you, too?” I asked, and more than willing to vent his frustration, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Yeah, the air’s been out since Sunday,” shaking his head from the heat and dismal sales before retreating behind a door from where I’m assuming a fan was blowing. The woman at the register told me she heard it could be three weeks before the A/C gets working. Three weeks of unairconditioned mall, and in July, no less. Get me outta here!
Pushing through the Bloomie’s sauna, I made my way back into the mall passing Pottery Barn and its striking window display of sumptuous sofas and fluffy beds. One such bed was a mess, however, and I studied it more as I walked into the store. It was more than disheveled, in fact, it was alive! Something moved and then moved again. It was then that a woman emerged from under the comforter, stood up, fixed her mussed-up hair briefly before glancing at me knowing she’d been caught as she made her way out of the store. Bag-less and purse-less, she appeared to be just a regular shopper, and otherwise didn’t present as homeless. With my mouth still gaping open I found a nearby employee. “Did you know?” I began, and he interrupted smirking futilely, “Welcome to Lenox!” He’d apparently woken her up and instructed her to leave, but she’d taken her sweet time.
Having had more than my fill of the mall, I next inched along in Atlanta’s rush hour toward home, a few errands left to finish along the way. Finally, on the edge of Decatur something caught my eye. A chillingly familiar dark eggplant colored creature began crawling across the dashboard, its enormous antennae preceding its oval body, a filthy Porsche with a split down the center where its wings came together. I gasped, incredulous, yet unable to exit the vehicle with traffic moving and no curb cuts to turn into. It plunged down into the dash and up again closer to the steering wheel now climbing the visor mere inches from my scalp. I can handle frogs, lizards, and the occasional small snake–ok, maybe not in my car– grasshoppers, too, but am rendered frozen, completely terrified by these enormous Palmetto bugs/roaches/whatever you want to call them.
Meanwhile, he/she crawled from my side of the dash to the passenger side and I managed to pull into a nearby McDonald’s lot swerving my car diagonally across two parking places and screeching to a halt like police do when they quickly show up to a store that’s got trouble. Now reduced to a complete mess and with my heartbeat stuck on hold, I exited the car and opened the doors exhaling repeated guttural shrieks, disgusted, and needing to climb out of my own skin. A guy leaving the McDonald’s noticed my little hissy fit and mouthed an, “Is everything okay?” and I spread my thumb and forefinger apart to approximate the size of my problem and mouthed back, ROACH, my eyes rolling. Meanwhile said roach vanished and I was now sunk sitting on the curb trying to figure out what to do as I was most assuredly not getting back in that car. Walking toward the rear car door, I noticed him on the window. I flung some mail his way and in victorious slow motion watched him sail to the pavement and casually crawl away from my car, completely unrattled by the situation in stark contrast to me. As if escaping from jail, I hightailed it out of that lot and minutes later was home pouring myself a glass of wine, retelling the story to my husband, who seemed to welcome the humor.