The Power of Static Electricity

Millie 3

Remember when you used to drag your feet across the carpet and shock your brother with the tip of your finger?

Remember taking a balloon and rubbing your head with it, so that your hair stood straight up and straight out to the sides?

And remember, how cool it was when your dad would take your balloon and stick it to the ceiling?

Those were fun times.

However, it is not as much fun to stand in the checkout lane at a Kohl's Department Store, at the age of fifty-eight, with that same static, hair doo.

But that was Millie Noe, just two weeks ago.

I wanted to find the perfect outfit to wear to my son's fancy, wedding, dinner.

So, I was on the search for something grown up, classy and dignified.

And, since I happen to be a gold card carrying, MVP, Kohl's shopper, plus I had a thirty per cent discount coupon in my pocket, Kohl's was my destination.


Something black.  A winter evening.  A fancy place.


"Don't get anything slutty," said my friend Shirlee.

I was shocked. But she did have a point.

"Nothing slutty. Nothing slutty," I repeated her words, as I rifled through some racks.

I hadn't thought ahead and dressed for shopping after work that morning.

I'd just gotten ready, like any other day.

I was covered in layers and layers of clothes, short, zippered boots with heels, a winter coat and a scarf around my neck because it is cold in Wisconsin in January.

I entered dressing room A, with my first promising batch of outfits.

I don't usually try clothes on before buying them.

But for such a special occasion it was a must.

I have an idea, Kohl's.

Millie 1

Dim your fucking lights and get some different mirrors for your elders.

We don't want to see what we really look like.

We want to see how we will look in a candle lit room to people who are drinking wine.


Now, if Millie Noe has a fault, it is that she is always in too big of a hurry.

After dissing everything she'd just tried on, she found herself standing in a heap of clothes, that belonged to both her and to Kohl's.

The heels of her zippered boots seemed to be stuck inside the pants that she'd left in a bunch. She had to pry them loose and turn all of her clothes back from inside out to outside out.  And then, she had to hang all of those very unflattering skirts and tops, back on all of their appropriate hangers.

Do not worry Shirlee, my friend.

In round one, there was nothing slutty.

Round one had Millie Noe looking like some kind of a middle aged, frump.

But she was not deterred.

She was even more determined to hunt down that elegant outfit.

There were plenty more choices in that department store.

She zoomed from rack to rack to rack, plucking up all kinds of possibilities.  A hanger dug into her forearm through her winter coat, sweater and under armor.

She pounced into Dressing room B, with complete confidence and pulled that hanger out of her arm.

But, dressing room B, proved to be worse than dressing room A.

"What the hell. I don't remember looking this bad this morning," she thought. "Jesus. I should have brought my tweezers. Why is a hair coming out of there?"

The mirrors in dressing room B had obviously been purchased from some two bit carnival and the bulbs had been stolen from a pick up truck.

Put it this way. If I were driving down the highway, and that mother was coming toward me in the dark, I'd be flipping my bright lights on and off and yelling inappropriate, words.

Kohl's, this was not a great shopping experience, for an MVP gold card holder.

I was getting a little bit thirsty and I wouldn't have minded taking a pee, but, those kinds of luxuries are not located in the women's clothing section.

I had no time to go way over to the other side of the store.

I was on a mission.

I separated one tight, kind of slutty fitting, black skirt, from the bunch.

Millie's boots were stuck in her pants again.  She pried them out of there turning her pants outside out, to get them back on. A very unflattering, now, inside out, turtlenecked, sweater dress, had her hair standing on end and out to the sides, like she'd been playing the balloon game, as she put all the no's, back on whatever the fuck hanger was closest and then she hung all of the rejects on the first rack she ran into, on her way out.

And then, with barely enough time to get all the blood out of her eyes, the bell rang for round number three.

Her trainer stood her back up, slapped her on the back and pried her fingers off the ropes.

"Go get em' Mille," she yelled. "And, remember, nothing slutty."

Millie was up to her eyeballs in dresses, skirts, tops, tops, skirts and dresses, as she felt her way into dressing room C.

Seriously, Kohl's, it is time to invest in some new shit. Maybe find out where the bars buy their mirrors. I always look better in bar mirrors.

And, so does everybody else.

What are the odds that I could look that shitty in that many different choices?

The amount of static electricity in dressing room C was at a combustible level when I finally walked out that door with a pile of clothes that would never do, hanging over my arm, leaving all the absolute losers hanging there.

Correct. I did not return them to the rack.

Who the hell would buy them anyway?

Only somebody who didn't try them on.

After saving more money than I'd spent, with a static balloon hair doo and the cashier, happy that I was using plastic, so that she wouldn't have to hand me any change and get a shock of a lifetime, I wandered out to the black parking lot.

Eventually I located my car.

I do not remember the ride home.

They say that trauma does that.

I walked in the door and dropped the bag of crappy clothes on the floor.

It was late.

I was exhausted.

"Oh, you're home," says Sven. "How did it go?"

"Is it midnight?"

"No. It's six forty-five," he said.


And then, my sweet Sven fixed me a drink and he massaged my defeated, shopping, shoulders.

"It was horrible. The mirrors. The lights. The glare. No tweezers."

"Well, what are you going to wear to the wedding, then?" he said.

"I am going to model that bag of shit over there, for Mom and Louisa. They will have to vote on whatever I look the least hideous in."

I was telling this horror story to a man who was planning to wear a suitcoat that had been hanging in his closet, since 1990.

I should have been a man.

They have it so easy.

On Sunday I went over to the condo, with my Kohl's' bag.

It turned out that the kind of slutty, black skirt, with a pair of black boots, along with a dreamy black and purple light-weight sweater, won the election, by a landslide, with all two votes.

A week later we walked into the dimly lit, fancy restaurant, for my son's wedding dinner.

And I am pretty sure that all the high-class people, drinking their expensive wines that we passed by, never even fucking looked up.

 Their loss.

Millie 2

And you know what?


It didn't matter.

The night belonged to these two.

Happy Forever.

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