2010-07-02 / General Stories

Garden Party Nightie

“I’m not coming out! I can’t find my clothes!”

It’s not often that one gets caught with one’s pants down. Getting caught with no pants at all happens even more infrequently. However, I seem to get caught more than my fair share.

I went into a department store looking for sundresses. I’m not sure what I was expecting to find, but all the sundresses I saw were the kind you might wear to a garden party. I’ve never been invited to a garden party, maybe because I have no garden party dresses. But I’ve seen them on TV and I know what women wear to one.

The dresses typically have a lot of white in them with splashes of color. They sometimes have collars and waistlines and are meant to be worn by skinny people.

What I was looking for was a lightweight, anything-but-white tent with arm holes. I wanted to be comfortably cool without the pressure of possibly being invited to a garden party, because garden parties are boring anyway and the dresses are for skinny people.

After 15 minutes of browsing, it became apparent that I should’ve gone to a sporting goods store to find what I wanted. Do they make tents in a nice summery print?

After a time, I wandered into the Intimates Department. That is a very interesting name for the pajama department, I thought.

Well, if I wasn’t going to a garden party, surely, I would be going to bed that night and I could use a new nightgown. You see, shopping depresses me, but buying makes me happy. There is a name for that.

The Intimate Department holds both the nightgowns one would wear after having been to the garden party - the kind most women would wear on their honeymoon - and the nightgowns women wear when their reason for going to bed is to sleep. I was intending to sleep - Lord knows I needed it - but I couldn’t resist trying on one of those nightgowns that you don’t get to wear all night; not that I would ever buy it.

I took all of my “potentials” to the fitting room and proceeded to try them on. The only one that wasn’t too small was the one that had so little fabric it almost didn’t exist. I had just finished putting it back on the hanger, when the lights went out. Not just a blink - OFF.

There I stood, in my underwear, wondering where my clothes were. In a room the size of a phone booth, there aren’t too many places for clothes to hide. I felt around with my hands. There’s the stool. There’s my purse on the stool. No clothes. The only clothes hanging on the hooks were my potential nightgown purchases. I knew where the floor was, so I felt around down there. Nothing. I could feel that the walls stopped about a foot from the floor and I wondered if the woman next door was, at that moment, putting on my clothes.

I heard the store clerk say, “Security is coming to get everyone out of the store.”

Now I was getting panicky. The only clothing option at this point was the almost-not-there nightie! This was unacceptable.

There was a knock on my door. Hands on my hips, using my voice of authority, I yelled, “I’m not coming out! I can’t find my clothes!” Standing in your underwear makes your voice of authority sound more like a squeal of fear.

I heard a snicker and a snort from the other side of my door. When I find my clothes, she is toast!

The lights flashed on for a second, but thanks to her, I was staring at the door, where my clothes couldn’t possibly be hiding. Blast it!

I suddenly heard the annoying chirp of my cell phone and then I saw its display light beaming out of my open purse. A light! I grabbed the phone and hoped it was my Mom calling. She would be persistent enough to let it ring until I found my clothes.

There they were! In the dim light of my cell phone I saw my clothes hiding behind the stool. I meant to answer the phone to see who I needed to thank for calling just then, but whoever it was hung up before I could. I dressed in the dark and then made my way to the front of the store where I realized that I had put my shirt on inside out and backwards.

But at least I wasn’t wearing a garden party nightie.

Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more info.

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