“That frog,” I told Joe, “is going to get stomped on.”
Remembering a former new age-y boss, who once confessed to me during a long Christmas shift at Waldenbooks, that he had a groundhog spirit guide, I decided to reference the frog in Ted Andrews book, Animal Speak.
According to Andrews, if a frog has presented itself, “it may be time to breathe new life into an old project or goal.”
The frog is a symbol of fertility, rebirth and resurrection. Since I’m in no hurry to get preggers, I took this is as a message to get cracking on The Book, which I realize has nothing to do with returning The Dress.
Armed with frog knowledge I took off to purchase a present for a friend in downtown St. Pete, and as usual, I passed a gaggle of bums, and as usual, one of them called out to me.
“M’am,” he croaked. “Can you spare some change so I can get ointment for my foot.”
This is a new one, I thought. Foot ointment. Surely this bum – I’ll call him Jed – has milked other ailments in the past, but foot ailments? C’mon, dude. Wear shoes and your feet won’t slough off.
I reached into my purse, pulled out a dollar bill, handed it to Jed and snapped, “That foot. Is dis-gusting.”
Jed took the dollar bill and nodded gratefully, his ruddy face creasing in the afternoon sun like an origami crane. It hit me just then, like a sack of bricks to the belly, that bums are ageless. Not ageless in the sense that they are young, but ageless in the sense that they are without an age. To those of us who pass them by, bums are just bums with no names and no ages. No numbers and letters to hang over their heads. Just time.
“Linda,” said the one saleswoman. “Get over here. You’re not gonna believe how well this dress fits.”
“Like a glove!” Squealed Linda. “Oo! We’ve been waiting for someone to buy this dress!”
“How long do I have to return it?” I asked.
“Return it?” They snapped. “Why would you return it?”
And then, two weeks later I returned it. I think the saleswomen had a bet, because when I walked in with the dress in a Target bag, the one smirked at the other like, Itoldyouso.
“Well that’s too bad,” the one woman said. “It fit you like a glove.”
On my way up 2nd Avenue I passed Ann Taylor, walked inside and purchased a fetching tweed number for the rehearsal dinner.