Friday, June 4, 2010

Take that Cat: A Rebuttal

Let’s get this straight people, the idea of shopping for “self” is a term I coined to address Cat’s particularly challenging opposition to shopping. As in shopping, period. Now you don’t have to love wandering sprawling markets or finding killer deals like me, but as an adult I do think it’s important to be willing to spruce things up every once in awhile. I am working myself on the idea of “investment” pieces because I don’t like trends or spending money on things that won’t last (though I usually return anything that would fall into that category because I feel guilty about the cost). Cat has actually always been a good example of this, and every five years or so she splurges on a sweater, bag or pair of boots that look fantastic. The rest of the time, however, she pulls earrings out of dumpsters (true story!) and dons the worst Laura Ashley dress from her Freshman year on the east coast. I THINK SHE HAS WORN THIS DRESS ON A DATE IN HER LATE 20’s. I'm pretty sure I donned my last Laura Ashley when I was 12.

So while I have learned from Cat that shopping is about finding things you truly love, I hope she has learned from me that every once in awhile, ESPECIALLY when you’re presented with opportunities to spruce up your winter wardrobe for anywhere between 7 cents and four bucks, why not?

That said, let me amend the various interactions Cat recounted below for the sake of our friendship, her wardrobe and my credibility:

At Toi Market (This place has bargains so good it makes the Goodwill look like Bloomingdales)

Toi Market is one of the mitumba markets you’ll find throughout the continent. It is full of first world cast-offs that reflect a throw-away culture in which trends change by the minute. You would not believe the quality or labels you can find at Toi – and yes, sometimes for as little as a nickel. Now, would I rather encourage a friend to buy a top that supports re-use and extends its life RATHER than buy a 1-off top at a big-box store that will end up in one of these very piles sooner rather than later? You betcha.

We’re looking at bracelets (yet again):
Megan: “You’ve wanted one of those for so long”

I SWEAR SHE SAID MULTIPLE TIMES SHE WANTED A HORN BRACELET…though Cat’s dyslexia sometimes transcends words and moves into materials and she kept calling them bone bracelets.

Megan also has a vision for each item; loose waists can be belted, awkward sleeves can be cropped, if a shirt doesn’t have the right form or fashion a blazer or necklace can right the situation. In any case “it” should be purchased. Toi Market purchases and their subsequent tailoring is truly Megan in her element.

Am I right or am I right? That there is a 7 cent top bringing out the sass!

Another favorite:
Me: “but this ring doesn’t fit”
Megan: “that is because you have been walking around; your fingers are swollen”
Me: pause
Megan: “It is 50 cents; when I got my first horn ring I wore it for almost a year”
I make the purchase.

Here I’m just not interested in spending any more time debating spending LESS than 50 cents – though I do stand by my swollen statement.

We are in a silversmiths shop in Lamu:
Megan: “But you don’t have anything else like that”. . .
My thought: I probably have over 40 necklaces AND THIS IS A NECKLACE

Like I said people, earrings from a dumpster!!!

At Kitangela Glass:
Me: “But Megan I don’t need Champagne flutes”
Megan: “You can’t get crummy ones half off at Ross for less and these are one of a kind”
Me: A look that says you've got to be kidding me
Megan: “Plus you love Champagne”

Now let me be honest, what I’m really saying is that I love champagne, but drinking it out of coffee mugs at Cat's studio takes away a little of the pizazz.

Ahem. Allow me a moment to climb atop my soap box for a final thought on the Masai ladies, who will really drive you crazy if you let them. I DO think it’s important to support them – and it IS their only independent income as women. As a tourist I’ve come in, created a demand that has commandeered their land and I’m paying upwards of $100 a night to experience what was once theirs and only theirs. $2 for something that I’ll wear or hang in my room, that provides some money for the things they can no longer get off the land AND will always remind me no matter where I go or am of this moment in time is no sweat off my back. Plus, I don’t like to buy in Nairobi because things have changed hands so many times you’re almost certain the artisan isn’t getting any of the profit.

That said...

Cat did fail to mention that on our way back to Nairobi I almost stopped for some Masai ladies who looked like they needed a ride. Cat's face reflected immediate panic and she blurted out, “Oh my God Megan no! If they drive with us to Nairobi I’ll be climbing out the window and you’ll have so many bracelets on you won’t be able to bend your arms to drive!”

With that, I suppose Cat gets the final point here.


Bebedores do Gondufo said...

Very good.

Anonymous said...

As I read this I'm wearing a belt from Toi and a bone? bracelette . . . Megan knows best