Sunday, March 7, 2010

Seconds to Go

Overheard at the Seconds-to-Go Resale Shop on Fillmore Street in San Francisco one Friday afternoon recently: "I'd wish you luck, but I see that the Shopping Goddess has already smiled on you."

Those of us who secretly love the pursuit of stuff, yet take pride in doing it on the cheap, find this whimsical goddess smiles on us in second-hand stores, especially classy ones. This particular temple on Fillmore re-sells donated goodies for the benefit of the SF Schools of the Sacred Heart, raising over $1 million dollars in financial aid over the past three decades.

My companion on this last adventure found my wedding dress for me at a little place called Second Time Around, in San Luis Obispo. I remember Nat King Cole singing Unforgettable on the radio as we browsed in a large closet-sized room filled with wedding dresses of nuptials past. As I inhaled the gentle, mature fabrics, some crisp, some soft, some still glittering with the joy their owners had felt, I knew that this moment would be unforgettable for me, crystal clear in my heart, all these years later.

She pulled the dress off the rack, I tried it on, decided immediately, then we went to have a delicious Thai lunch. (It's a pattern we've repeated over the years on other shopping expeditions.) The dress was perfect: subtle rainbow irridescent beadwork, elegant tapered sleeves, a multitude of cloth-covered buttons up the back. Plus the skirt spun beautifully! I felt a moment of pure silence in my soul as my new husband twirled me around on the lawn at the Henry Miller Library, the white satin flowing outward in a dramatic crescent, soft green grass whirling past.

Now we shop for our husbands, her son, and each other on our dynamic meanderings in the land of thrift-store serendipity. It's a game for us to find just the right item, to seduce each other into buying, say, the perfect pair of shoes. After all, what are friends for? To teach you how to love yourself better through their generous understanding. And to help you enjoy sexy footwear, of course.

Finding the unforeseen ideal object requires openness, and a quality of presence that is refreshing. When we pay attention, who knows what we will find in life, or what will find us, at any moment? I actually consider consumer browsing a meditation of sorts, and why not? The Shopping Goddess is real, and loves to smile grandly upon her devotees!

The magical dress

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