Carol and I were pricing clothes at the consignment shop where I work part time. Carol, my supervisor/boss, manages the Next to New Shop in the basement level of the Columbiana Women’s Club. She has final say on which items we take for resale, deciding what she feels will sell and what to “pass” on. After nearly 20 years at the job, her knack for quickly checking out the articles and choosing the “yeas and nays” continually impresses me. Her ability to rearrange the racks in the shop to accommodate what we acquire is just as amazing.
As each consignment season approaches in spring and again in fall, our clients, after clearing and rearranging their closets, bring us bags full (sometimes racks full) of clothes. Each season brings a few new consigners, but many have been bringing things to the shop for years. Our criteria are just as the shop’s name sounds; consignment items must be
“next to new”, recent styles, not worn looking, clean and ready to sell – Women’s, men’s, and junior’s clothes, shoes, purses, ties, belts, etc. and even the occasional bedspread or curtains. We get some great items and sell them at great prices.
Usually only one of us is working at a time, but, busy as we’ve been lately, to avoid being up to our waists in bags of clothing, we’ve worked together to catch up.
We talked about our busy schedules. It’s clear that many of us baby boom kids bridge the generations, keeping tabs on both the younger set – kids and grandkids and the older set – our parents, while our own, middle-aged lives sometimes get put on hold.
Although the notes we compared were different, Carol taxiing her mother to appointments; me taxiing my daughter to extracurricular activities, it pared down the same: we’re living much of our lives “on demand.” On the receiving end of our loved ones’ remote controls, we’re ready to entertain every request. Not only do we respond to their clicks, but we try to anticipate them like TIVO.
Carol described writing two checks in a row (same time and place) and having to ask the date for each check. She felt embarrassed, but she’d said, “Tell me again. My head is full.”
YES. Too well, I know that feeling. My brain throbs as a mesh of seized diodes – fizzing, crackling, lights blinking. Overload. Messages that should make sense in my head just don’t connect. Dates, names, words, what I had for lunch yesterday, or was that the day before? What is wrong with me?
Dare we claim the obvious justification that it’s not that we’re getting older, it’s that we have so much more on our minds? Why not?
Truth is, we live in an age when there has never been so much available to us at once – more forms of media putting more kinds of information at our fingertips than ever before, with more choices, more decisions, more places to direct our attention. How do we focus? which taste, which sound, which picture and what should we wear?
Awhile back, I lambasted my daughter for talking on her cell phone and our house phone at the same time, one in each hand. Lately, I’ve found myself in the same state, phone in each hand, and I got it; it does happen. I saw how it was; how it is – complicated, too complicated!.
If this means I should start taking a mental supplement like Focus Factor, maybe it’s time to turn off a few gadgets and clear my closet.
But I can’t take my clothes to the Next to New Shop.
In addition to exercise workouts, maybe Carol and I should add meditation classes to our schedules. Deep breath, relax, let it all go.