I had a dream last night. In the dream I was standing outside a thrift store and I was totally naked. The building looked like one of the typical second hand stores you’ll see in a very urbanized area. It was an old white building, a bit on the dingy side. Weeds were growing through the cracks of the foundation in various spots around the structure. I walked inside.
As I walked through the door there were a series of steps that take people down to the store floor. There was a huge, homemade counter at the bottom of the steps. People were milling all around. I walked my naked self about halfway down the steps and sat down on them, trying to hide my nakedness.
I sat there for a while. No one seemed to notice me in my birthday suit. I was thankful for that. Out of the corner of my eye I saw some oversized terrycloth towels. I grabbed a burgundy one and wrapped it around me. The towel was as big as a bed sheet. With my nakedness now under wraps, I thought I could do my own milling about to find something a little more appropriate to wear. All the people I saw before had disappeared. The store was virtually empty. Wrapped in my towel I ventured into the rows of clothes.
Like some thrift stores I’ve been to, this store wasn’t just one large open area. It was an older building partitioned into separate rooms. I walked through a doorway into a room that was filled with clothes made of the finest leather. There were fine leather jackets with fur around the collar. There were fine leather belts and leather shoes. There were rows of pants made of the finest cloths. I marveled at the unexpected, and rather out of place, clothing.
As I stepped into the room, I noticed a couple looking at the clothing. It was a man and a woman. All I saw was the back of their heads. I never saw their faces. They were doing their best to stay anonymous. I stepped around them and went about my business trying to find something to wear.
In the corner of this room I saw some toys. That was unexpected. There was a ten pack of Matchbox cars sitting on a shelf. I don’t remember what cars were in the pack with the exception of one. At the very top of the pack was a green Matchbox station wagon. I wanted the cars. But I had to find clothing first. I put the box of cars down and went back to finding something to wear. This room was not for me.
As I walked out back into the main part of the store I looked down at my feet. I was surprised to see that I had on a pair of gray bell bottoms. The fabric didn’t feel very nice. Around the zipper there were some weird decorative buttons. These pants were clearly out of date and fashionably hopeless. But at least my bottom was covered. I felt a sense of relief.
When I got back to the front counter, a black woman told me that we had a problem. I hadn’t been keeping my appointments. I apologized, but then I said that I didn’t think that the counseling was mandatory. I talked like I knew what she was talking about. I know many thrift stores have counseling programs to help people. I was thinking that I had been enrolled into such a program. I just didn’t remember signing up for it. The woman laughed and asked if I wanted to drop out. I told her no. I needed the counseling and would like to continue. I promised to do better.
The woman then told me that I shouldn’t worry. The store had an opening coming up. If I wanted, I would have a job by the end of the week. I smiled a sense of relief.
But then she looked at me. My burgundy towel was gone and all I had were the gray bell bottom pants. She said that I needed a haircut and she reached into a cabinet and pulled out a set of hair clippers. I was instantly horrified. I took a step back and told her with my most authoritative voice that she would not touch my locks. She ignored me and told me to stay still. I did as I was told and she put the clippers against my chest and shaved what little chest hair I had off.
Another woman suddenly appeared out of the clothes racks and made a beeline to the counter. She was carrying a baby. She walked up to me and told me that she heard that I was in a three way relationship and asked if it was true. I said no ma’am. I cheated on my significant other. The woman laughed. It wasn’t a mocking laugh. It was the type of laugh an elder would give if her protégé was tested and passed.
And at that point, the woman behind the counter gave me a brightly colored jacket with a multitude of blues, pinks, yellows, and greens. It looked like the kind of jacket someone would buy for a child or a baby. I woke up right after that and started putting my dream to paper. If I had to guess, whatever test I may have been given, I’d have to say that I passed with flying colors