Balls. I’ve been told I can’t post about “Lost.” As much as I want to rip into the show, Joe has informed me that in order to give an accurate critique of the tangent-tastic, scuzz opera I have to rent all the seasons on DVD. Apparently watching only 10 episodes doesn’t cut it for Siskel & Joe-bert. So, I must wait and Lance must remain nonpartisan on topics such as “Lost.” (I knew this topic would rile him more than Towelie.)
So instead let me pontificate on Stein Mart. Why I’m rip roaring crazy over Stein Mart, the shopping plaza department store that, on the surface, sells merch to outfit an old biddy and old biddy condominiums.
There’s a Stein Mart up the road from me, in a Publix plaza maybe two, three miles away. Whenever I go there (and it is often) I feel like I’m going to my favorite Q-tipped Aunt’s house for mint juleps and scrabble. The women who work there are sweet as pumpkin pie and call me hon. The first time I walked in there, brand new to St. Pete and on a mission to find a lamp for our new apartment, a lone male employee walked up to me in housewares and asked if I needed help. I never saw the Stein Male again, though he was just as helpful and fatherly as the ladies were doting and maternal. (I think they keep him chained up behind the swinging door in housewares, where he works on Sudoku puzzles and if needed is unchained briefly for heavy lifting.)
Since that day I’ve returned to Stein Mart perhaps two dozen times. I purchased all my family’s Christmas gifts there and traveled with an extra suitcase to Buffalo with all these oddities inside – rubber boots with enormous flowers on them for my sister, Heelya; a blue, blue handbag for my sister PK, pug slippers for my mom, the list goes on …
People have said to me (particularly those family members mentioned above): “What the hell are you doing at Stein Mart, Bea Arthur?
And to them I say: “The place rocks my socks. I got the ass-iest pair of jeans* ever at Stein Mart.”
Some of the other things I’ve purchased there:
1. Two blankets
3. Green shirt that I am wearing to the left on this Lance
4. Our kitchen table, which Joe and I call Grandpa’s snack tray
5. Bed sheets
6. White granny sweater
7. The butt jeans*
*And it’s thanks to my Stein Mart sistahs that I even own the butt jeans at all. I almost bought a frilly, caketopper dress instead for this wedding we went to last week, but Jesus no I didn’t really want to buy it and upon seeing my scrunched up face as I half-heartedly twirled for them in the dressing room, the Stein Mamas told me, “Hon, if you really like the jeans better, get the jeans.”
Which is precisely what I did.
My theory is, is that I’m sister-less and mom-less here. PK, Heelya, mom, Nana, Aunt Winnie … they’re all up in Buffalo. The ladies at Stein Mart fill that void. Perhaps I wouldn’t even shop at Stein Mart if these women lived here. Perhaps I specifically sought a Gouda cheesy department store in an attempt to stir up substitute retail relatives so that when I go shopping it’s like I’m shopping with my ladies back in Buffalo again, which leads me to my final point of the morning – PK is moving here in less than three weeks.
Things are gonna get funky.