When I first visited Arizona, I remember my dismay at having forgotten my swim suit back in Chicago. I rushed over to the local Target to pick up a new one and was stunned to learn that, although it was a balmy 80 degrees outside, it was March and out of season so no swim suits were available. I found that to be odd. After all, coming from 30 below zero weather in the Windy City, 80 degrees was not only swim suit temperature to me, it was “sit out by the pool with a virgin strawberry daiquiri reading Cosmo and bathing myself in Bain de Soleil” weather.
I’d nearly forgotten the episode. Until this afternoon, when my shivering son, Levi, and I wandered into store after store here in Seattle looking for anything resembling a coat to protect him from the icy rain and frigid winds we were facing. I found it beyond baffling that in a city where summer temperatures routinely range anywhere from 60 to 75 degrees, not a single store sold jackets. We couldn’t even find a heavy sweatshirt at all of the big-box stores. By the time we wandered into K-Mart, which shows you how utterly desperate I’d become, I was fit to be tied.
“Excuse me,” I waved down a sales associate. “Where are the men’s jackets?”
“We don’t have jackets,” the surly young woman snipped. “It’s summer.”
“Thank you for that clarification,” I amiably replied. “But it’s freezing outside and practically hailing. Is there nowhere in Seattle to purchase a coat in June?”
“No.” she answered with an almost lilting rise of her voice that felt eerily similar to the tone my son uses when he rolls his eyes towards the ceiling to indicate that I am, without doubt, the biggest goon in the universe.
But I persisted. “I’m just curious, what do people from here do when the weather is this chilly in June?”
“They wear coats they bought in the winter,” she curtly snapped. Then she turned on her heel and strode off towards the patio umbrellas and outdoor chez cushions.
We did finally locate a rather large wind-breaker on a clearance rack near the sporting goods aisle and decided to count our blessings and buy it immediately. On our next day’s boating expedition, we would simply layer up our son in every item he’d packed, stuff him into the over-sized wind-breaker, and hope for the best.
But isn’t this a little odd? I mean, who makes these kinds of decisions? If it’s cold, chances are someone is going to need a jacket. Who cares if it’s May or December? Likewise, if you live in the Dessert and it’s hot, the strong possibility exists that tourists are going to plan on sunning themselves next to various bodies of chlorine-coated H20. So why wouldn’t you have a few swim suits on hand?
There are undoubtedly people getting paid a great deal of money to make these types of inane decisions. I found myself deeply disturbed by this and stepped into one of the 80,000 Starbucks that surrounded me like an army of java zombies.
“I’ll just have a decaf coffee,” I pled, knowing that the barrista would get it and hurry to accommodate my stressed-out state.
But lo and behold, I was mistaken. Instead, the young man behind the counter smiled a vacuous smile and said, “Sorry, we don’t sell decaf after 4pm. It’s a company wide policy.”
I shall leave you to puzzle that out on your own, dear reader. For somehow, in some fictitious universe somewhere, it is thoughtful, prudent and a good business decision for the largest coffee house in the world to refuse to sell caffein-free coffee after 4pm in the afternoon.
I give up. Guess I’ll keep pondering that one tonight when I can’t sleep after my unintentional afternoon caffein injection.