This is the Facebook Version of my Midsummer Shoe Sale fun text: Facebook here.
Does anybody know where I can buy a T-shirt that says, "I Survived the Midsummer Shoe Sale"? It would be the perfect T-shirt for expressing my recent dramatic experience. Alright, I am exaggerating, but I will tell you the whole story about a hot and sunny day, that I will always remember. This was one of those rare days, which I did not plan from in the morning until the evening. Okay, that is not true; I planned relaxation and a nice time with my wife. So, I asked her a naïve, good-willed question, “Would you like to do anything special today, sweetheart?” Her answer set off light tremors in my soul. "Honey, let's go to the Mariahilferstrasse." She said.
Mariahilferstrasse - the German street name sounds so harmless, so peaceful. Allow me to offer you a loose translation of Vienna's longest, most significant shopping street: 'Mary help us'. I can imagine, that one day, a man working by Vienna’s Department of Street Naming asked his colleague. "Well, this is a nice long street. What are we going to use it for?" The bored co-worker looked up from his pile of paperwork and explained to him, that it would be Austria's largest shopping street. As he envisioned the swimming masses of shoppers and midsummer sales (not to mention the Christmas shopping), he exclaimed, "oh! Mary help us!" and wrote it down as the street name as a sort of prayer for the men that would do shopping excursions with their wives there.
Okay, I am exaggerating again, but to tell you the truth, I actually had a nice time. My wife and I took our time, walking casually down the street, browsing and window shopping… until we saw the sign: "Midsummer Sale." I was immediately teleported to a new world of understanding the shopping woman’s ‘animal instinct’.
To continue my story, I would need to interject that it was as hot as one could expect in midsummer. The heat was practically unbearable, which would not be so bad, but the stores in Austria rarely have air conditioning. In addition, it is also fair to note that I sweat easily. In general, I’m just not much for being hot; so the first thing I noticed as I entered the shoe shop was that the air-conditioning was not running. I presumed that it was not running, but maybe the air conditioning could not keep up with the heat being radiated from masses of shopaholic women.
An intoxicating rush overwhelmed me as I stood there in the sweltering, sticky store observing the hustle of women shopping. It was a feeling like swimming underwater, free amongst a hoard of sharks in a feeding frenzy in a sea of shoes and sale signs: "-30%, -50%, -70%". Aside from my fear of shark bites, it was amazing to watch, yet hard to believe, that these women, were the same women that do tea parties on Sundays in the garden. The same ones that say, "Honey, don't drive so fast" and the same women that are so tender to babies and animals. THESE women were the sharks in the ocean of shoes, circling from one shoebox to the next, pushing other sharks out of their way in a nonchalant manner using their butts or their purses.
As a man, I found my security in my shark cage; a one square meter imaginary safety zone near the store’s exit. As my wife my antagonism noticed and my desire to flee, she gave me her hand and tried to comfort me with a lie: “Honey, I need your help.” Women don’t have bad intentions, nor do they think they are lying; they just want us to take part of their lives and their shopping ceremonies. To be realistic, nobody would ask me to help them find a nice pair of women’s shoes. I have bad taste in men’s shoes, alone when I think what damage I could do to someone’s fashion statement if I picked out women’s shoes for them!
In any case, I did my best to follow my wife without getting lost or hurt in the shoe store jungle. At the same time I was trying to act like a connoisseur in women’s shoes. In many ways, I admire women’s talent in shopping. The chaos seemed complete as shoeboxes were being torn down from the shelves, shoes tried on, and thrown back into a heap on the shelves, but in the middle of it all, they can analyse, judge, desire and select the perfect pair of shoes. Occasionally, I would hear a voice overtoning the others, “Darling! This is the perfect pair of shoes! I will never find them this cheap again!” But, in the swarm it was hard to define if it was my wife speaking or one of the other women squawking in ecstasy. It was clear that my precious tea drinking, “drive slower Darling” wife was in a feeding frenzy.
Sorry, I tend to exaggerate and of course I have no intention of comparing my tender sweetheart with a vicious biting shark. It’s just when I think back on that hot midsummer’s day, I marvel in general at a women’s transformation during a shoe sale. The day was full of brilliant enlightenment and I will close with fair question: how would men react if there was a midsummer car sale? But there is no need to exaggerate…