Friday night Sally and I were eating dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant when we were approached by a retired secretary, someone we'd worked with for many years.
Let me tell you something about this retired secretary: She is one of the most dramatic persons I have ever met. If you were to watch a history of World War II, and then listen to her story of an encounter with a telemarketer--something I have done years ago when we were working together--it wouldn't seem anticlimactic.
On Friday night she talked with us about what she's doing now, working for her son's business. What her husband is doing, how her daughter-in-law is anorexic, how her son and daughter-in-law have no children, but she has a "granddog"…all while our waitress brought our drinks, and then brought our dinner. At that point the lady felt it was time to leave, so with relief we watched her go back to her seat.
A few minutes later she came back to us, saying, "While I was talking to you someone stole my purse!" She was off again in a hurry, after telling us the busboy had given it to a woman. When we finished our dinner and walked out the restaurant there she was, on her cellphone, with a police officer walking towards her.
While I felt sorry for her in her plight, I also thought there was a part of her that enjoyed the attention she was suddenly getting. I've had experience listening to her tell the most trivial stories from her daily life as if they had been written by Shakespeare. I visualized her telling everyone within earshot, in the most dramatic tones possible, about the theft. Kind like this lady.
Sometimes I've had to remind Sally not to turn her back on her shopping cart, where her purse rides in the child seat. A thief could have that purse and be out the door in seconds. It happens all the time.
On the other hand, some thieves are more blatant. My coworker Bob told me a story a couple of weeks ago. His 73-year-old mother-in-law drove into her driveway, got out of her car. A white van pulled up and a man got out, approached her and demanded her purse. She saw a knife in his hand and gave it up.
I'm really sorry the retired secretary and my coworker's mother-in-law lost their purses to thieves, but ladies, be careful. A bad guy looks at your bag like it's a key to the bank, and in many ways it is.
Speaking of purses, my wife collects them. She's been collecting old purses for a few years and usually looks for something unusual looking, something that has a brand name or at least says Made In America. You can tell if it's made in America it's gotta be old! How many years have those things been made in other countries? Forty or more?
I helped start her on her collecting course by finding this purse at a thrift store for $1.00. It's a Joseph Magnin purse, metallic, with rhinestones.
A couple of years ago on Solano Avenue in Albany, California, we visited an antique shop and I bought her this interesting lucite-paneled purse with lucite-links handle. It's got a leather interior and is marked "Meyers, Made In U.S.A." I didn't get off as lucky on the price of this purse. I looked in it before taking its picture and saw the original receipt. I paid $48.00.
I have some other purses for her for Christmas but I can't show them to you. Actually, it probably doesn't matter, because she usually comes up to me, hands me a purse or something else she likes and says, "Here, wrap this up for me for Christmas." Over 38 years we've evolved a system. We buy our own Christmas presents, then hand them to each other to wrap. We usually forget exactly what they are by the time Christmas rolls around. It prevents any returns to a store.
I found out early in my marriage that any man who tries to buy clothes for a woman is stupid. Purses are the same way. A woman will size up a purse in an instant. She'll either say to herself: "I've got shoes to match that purse," or, "I need to go buy some shoes to match that purse." Guys just don't think like that, so it's smarter to let women buy their own Christmas and for the man to present it to them.
Ciao for now, El Postino