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It's not old and it's not from the navy

November 28, 2001

 

I'm torn between Doing My Part To Stimulate The Economy, and saving money because I haven't been working much.

 

I have to admit to slightly regretting leaving Schwab (gasp!); though I've had some cool freelance gigs, they've been nearly as few and far between as my photo gigs. And now some people very close to me have been laid off from their jobs. The circle of unemployment closes in.

 

By the way, I received an email from some writer looking for people to interview for a book he's writing about Schwab culture. I won't be replying to him because my supervisors there, who were really, really cool people, had been concerned that I was writing about Schwab on my website and I promised to keep it fairly private; and also, technically I didn't work for Schwab... I worked for CRS Communications. And only as a contractor at that. And if you were paying attention you'd know I finally acknowledged my problems adjusting to working there were all in my own bad attitude anyway.

 

Anyway, so I needed (yes, needed) a pair of black, low-rise corduroy jeans. Having seen their ads with prancing, low-rise corduroy jean-clad models, I was aware that Old Navy had such low-rise corduroy jeans; however, my seething disapproval of Old Navy prevented me from setting foot inside that giant Market Street menace to culture. First, they're GAP-owned, and we all know the GAP and its other demon spawn, Banana Republic, are merchants of mediocrity and flavorless banality. Second, and more importantly, Old Navy's initial ad campaign with Morgan Fairchild, some horrible old witch in giant black glasses, and that fucking dog, was monstrously annoying. I couldn't watch or listen, and my Replay TV saved me from many a horrific Old Navy moment with its live tv pause function and ad skip recorded program function.

 

Fortunately for all television-watching society, that horrible old woman won't be torturing us anymore because, unfortunately for those who loved her, she's dead now. And the new ad campaign brings us low-rise corduroy jean-clad models, who are actually sexy and appealing. My torment grows.

 

Yes, I was tempted. But instead I took my shopping dollars one block farther up Market Street to the San Francisco Shopping Center, and I spent $100 on the perfect pair of low-rise black corduroy jeans at Arden B., instead of hawking my soul at that other place for a mere thirty bucks. I am such a good person, a savior to culture! And a hundred dollars poorer. The entire time I was at Arden B., I was alone there with the two salespeople, surrounded by this season's ironically decadent and luxurious stock of leather and fur-trimmed delicacies; and all the while the six glass doors into Old Navy down the street opened and closed, opened and closed.

 

Now it has become tradition for my mom and stepdad to come to San Francisco for Thanksgiving. David and I take turns putting them up in a nice hotel, usually Campton Place right off Union Square, and we have dinner at David and Vincent's gorgeous pad up in Noe Valley. And Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, my mom always wants to shop Union Square. We usually enter Macy's relatively unimpeded and buy very little, except that I am often able to pick out one or two items of clothing for mom to purchase for me as a Christmas gift. Since she and Dan usually go to Montana for Christmas to visit his brother, their Thanksgiving visit here is also our Christmas with them.

 

This year, though -- holy smokes! (as Shelly would say.) From Campton Place to Macy's is a two block stroll; but this year, every street around the Union Square area was choked with cars and buses, and the sidewalks overflowed with heaving masses of human shopping flesh. As we inched along Stockton Street together along with the crowd (David and Ashley mooing placidly and giggling), we passed flower-strewn memorials to dead animals on the edges of the sidewalk. There were little placards reading "RIP Rabbit" and "RIP Calf", like some distraught pet owners might have chosen this odd moment to commemorate their lost little ones. I found out later this was actually an anti-fur protest; but it was really quite lost in the hubbub of crushing bodies and street vendors competing with the memorials for sidewalk space.

 

Down on Market street, the Buy Nothing Day people, wearing sheep-faced masks, picketed the entrance to the aforementioned San Francisco Shopping Center. We were unmoved by their bleats, and proceeded to enter the building. However, we bought nothing and my wheelchair-bound mother and I were repeatedly mauled by stroller-bearing parental types competing with us for the elevators.

 

In the end, we stopped in at Ross and I bought an eighteen-dollar, metal-studded courier-style bag for myself. Fun but hardly worth navigating the narrow, clothing-clogged aisles or waiting in the snaking checkout line for. [Boy do I ever love hyphenated descriptions of things!]

 

So, what do I want for Christmas? Well, world peace (duh!). And maybe a sexy new pair of boots. And a pile of triphop CD's by amazing artists I have thus far failed to discover. (I pray this exists.) Oh, and a cool design gig in the San Francisco area. Anyone? Anyone...? And for none of my friends to lose any more of their jobs, or to go on to lose their apartments.

 

It has been nothing short of amazing being here in San Francisco for the spectacular explosion of the internet and e-commerce, and resulting new riches and new restaurants and stratospheric housing costs. And equally amazing, and confounding, is watching it all crash down in a fiery display like the Leonids.

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