Monday, June 06, 2005

Woodbury Common

Every time we visit Jim's cousins in Cornwall, we pass the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. The complex is nestled in a valley, and as our Shortline bus or rental car rounds the bend on the Thruway, it appears into view like a little slate-roofed Shangri-La, or a theme park for shopaholics.

"It's not like a real factory outlet," say the cousins, dismissively. "It can be a rip-off. What do you need with it? You're in The City."

I try to persuade whoever I'm with to swing by there. It's maybe a 15-minute drive from the cousins, but over an hour's ride from home.

"You can drop me off there and then I'll meet you later on the bus going back." No deal.

I'd been meaning to take a ride up there, but something more important would always come up, like the fact that I live a ten-minute subway ride from any discount designer goods one could want. And then we'll go to Cornwall again, and we'll pass Woodbury Common again, and again my curiosity will be peaked.

I have some vacation time, and have decided to use it gradually a few days here and a few days there for something that's more fun than a colonoscopy. So tomorrow, I'm going to take a ride up there for the day.

My husband kept suggesting people I should take with me, coming up with less and less likely possibilities until he was down to people I hadn't seen since fourth grade.

"No! I went to Europe alone! I went to California alone! Why can't I go shopping alone?"

"But you'll be lonely!"

Ah, but I must be alone when I shop. I must be Hunter-Gatherer Mel, intent only on tracking down my own heart's desire, untethered by somebody who takes ten years to make up her mind over a pair of earrings. Nor do I have a clear conscience about dragging some poor suffering soul with me like a ragdoll as I dart from bush to underbrush in search of...well, it has to be cotton and it's usually black.

And then, my husband actually went shopping with me a few weeks ago and was so traumatized by the experience that he's stopped arguing with me.

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