It was a Gant, which I gather is quite a prestigious brand, so I tried that one on and looked in the mirror. I got a shock; I looked good in it; I truly don’t remember the last time I looked good in anything. I’m not the sort to look good in things, but this one seemed to work some magic. It was a safari style with no frills and the fit was perfect. The collar was the perfect size, it was the right colour, it had just the right number of pockets, and the cut said ‘quality’ – casual elegance without pretension. But it was expensive by charity shop standards, so being the cautious person I am where money is concerned, I decided to go back to the other shop and try the first one on. It was half the price of the Gant, you see, and I have a habit of noticing these things.
The arguments came thick and fast as I walked from one shop to the other:
‘You’re not the sort to buy things just because you like them. Money is an issue, always has been, remember?’
‘Who the hell gives a tuppeny toss what you look like anyway?’
‘The notion that looking good will boost your self-image is a pathetic attitude fit only for Culture-Dependants.’
‘You have far more important things to spend that sort of money on.’
I agreed with all of them, but countered them anyway. (I must have been feeling rebellious or something.) I got back to the other shop and tried the jacket on. Nothing. It was ordinary, no more.
‘That’s it then; go and buy the Gant. No more arguments, just do it.’
The coat hanger was in the same place on the rail when I returned to the second shop, and it was empty. I searched all the rails. No Gant.
‘Have you just sold a coat?’ I asked the assistant.
‘The American Gant? Yes, about five minutes ago.’
I wonder what the opposite of a Fairy Godmother is. I think I might have one.
* * *
The reason this post didn’t get made last night was because my fire decided it wanted to pretend it was a funnel on the Titanic. It was belching smoke into the room at a rate I’ve never known a fire belch smoke in all my life. I opened a window but it didn’t help much, and eventually I had to let the fire go out. And then I felt sick all night from smoke inhalation. Today I found what seemed to be the problem and fixed it, and tonight the fire behaved impeccably. But that’s another story.