The Sewist

I sew, knit and crochet hats. (Not all at the same time. Whaddaya think I am - a machine?)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lay-Away?
What's That,
Auntie Mary Beth?


One day, I'm certain in the far future, when they're able to build a hearing aid that can pick up the distinct chatter of one teenager on a bus and everyone owns a helicopter, I'm certain I'll sit by an environmentally-correct bonfire (a flickering image of a high-definition television set with a burnt wood smell emitting from a separate panel) and regale my 40+ nieces and nephews (I've already got 11) of days gone by. When nearly all telephones were black. And then tan. And you didn't own them. And a time when no one had a computer, but maybe an electric typewriter if you were lucky. And Americans went on two-week vacations without ever once contacting the office.
Then I'll educate them about lay-away. "What's that?" I can see my little niece, Jackie, now 6, saying as she wrinkles her nose. "Does that mean you get down on the ground like you're going asleep, away from home?"
"Not quite," I'll say, slapping my firm thighs toned by hours on the Power Plate. Who needs water aerobics when a machine can do all the work?
"Lay-away is when you put down a deposit on an item you want to buy, like a new bike. Then you pay off the rest a little bit each month."
"Wow," she responds, her eyes getting bigger than Frisbies. She's clearly intrigued.
"And you don't get the bike until it's all paid for."
"If it takes months to pay for it, then you can't ride it right it away!"
I nod, sage old European eagle owl that I am.
"You can't use a credit card to buy the bike?"
Then wildly waving my well-toned arms dotted with moles and a few dark spots, I regale Jackie with the story about how I bought a polyester (don't laugh) short-sleeved v-neck top with a matching pair of pants at Fashion Plus in the late 70s. I put down a deposit, and only reclaimed the outfit later when I paid it off in full. I can still remember the fabric of this ensemble: a textured off-white knit covered with tiny red, green, blues, and yellow flecks.
Then I tell her how I did the same many moons later (actually today) for dibs on a highly-sought after but gently used Viking Huskylock Serger at Vogue Fabrics. I used my Visa credit card to put down a 30 percent deposit. (My justification here, friends, is that I'm earning my United Frequent Flier miles, ok? I'm not advocating reliance on plastic.) The remainder is due by Christmas. No interest!
All this talk of deposits, balance due, and credit cards is lost on Jackie. She just wants to think and talk about are boys and maybe, just maybe, that really gorgeous guy on American Idol X.
Just as my dear niece gets up to walk away, I'll yell, "My point is that sometimes it's good to wait for stuff. If you get everything right away, you don't always appreciate it. I didn't get my serger for 6 months, but I always put aside money every month until I could finish paying for it. "
She begins skipping away. I know I've lost her now. Who cares about lay-away lectures when there are games to be played on the PC, which was purchased on credit?
"Don't forget about lay-away...your great-grandchildren are going to want to know about it!"

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