At the Mall

D’yeh do the Facebook thing?
–Wha’ d’yeh mean?
Roddy Doyle’s The Guts)

“I’m having a hair emergency,” I told the young woman.

Usually I stick something in my desperately-in-need-of-a-haircut before I go out, headband, barrettes (it hardly matters), but I’d hurried to catch the bus without bothering with my electric hair.

I went to the hair jewelry store.  I had never been in the hair jewelry store before.  It is called something like Hair Jewelry.  It is full of hair ruffles, headbands, cheap jewelry, and various plastic gaudies.

I chose a plastic headband, nothing with ruffles, and went to pay for it.

A mom and young daughter were at the counter in front of me.  The little girl tried to steal a pink thing with a flower.  Her mother made her put it back.

The clerk found them adorable.  There I am, less adorable.  Have I grown old overnight?  I think I have.

I smiled.  “Could you take the tag off this?”

She didn’t smile back.

The mall is a horrible place, but fortunately I didn’t spend much time there.  I rushed out to Barnes and Noble before the temperature dropped into the single digits again.  What a lovely day:  in the 30s, so the coat was open.

At B&N the barista asked my name when I ordered a latte.


“Excuse me?”


When I told my husband later, he said, “Your name isn’t Kat.”

“It was just for a latte.”

I thought it was hilarious. Yeah, my name isn’t really Kat.

And then I shopped for books.

I found a copy of Roddy Doyle’s The Guts,  a sequel to The Commitments.  We are big fans of The Commitments at our house.   I also bought Robert Harris’s new novel about the Dreyfuss affair for my husband.

And then I realized that I hadn’t picked out a book by a woman, and that oddly I have read more books by men than women this year, so I bought a novel about Edna St. Vincent Millay, Erika Robuck’s  Fallen Beauty, which I hadn’t heard of.

What am I reading right now? you may wonder.    Mrs. Oliphant’s Miss Marjoribanks, a predecessor of E. F. Benson’s Lucia books. The heroine, Miss Marjoribanks, is very, very funny.  And this is a Virago, for those of you who like them.

And so, you all, I’ve stocked up on books.  I haven’t told my husband yet, because he doesn’t like me to bring more books into the house. I’ll give him the books eventually.

And so I’m offline for the night.  This is a kind of faux Facebook entry.  I don’t have Facebook.

As Roddy Doyle says,

“Wha’ d’yeh mean?”

5 thoughts on “At the Mall

  1. Loved this, Kat. I really appreciate the way you just chat about your day and books. I am interested in the Dreyfus affair, since the anti-semitism it stirred up influenced my great-grandfather, a Polish Jew who studied to be a vet in Paris, to move to England. I must look out my unread copy of “Miss Marjoribanks” as you compare it to E.F. Benson’s book, which is a great favourite with me.



  2. Clare, thank you! Yes, I’ve heard a lot about the Dreyfuss affair possibly in introductions to Zola’s books. I come to my history in the oddest ways. And Miss Marjoribanks is very much like Lucia. It’s not as crazily funny as Benson, but she certaininly has her rivals (so far bad-tempered Barbara Lake has stolen one of her boyfriends, though Miss Marjoribabnks is asexual and didn’t want him anyway), and her sacrifice of marraige “for Papa” and manipulations are hilarious. She is a great hostess.

    Karne, what a relief! I thought I was the only one who did that. I like to get him used to seeing a book around before he actually registers that it’s new.:)


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