In Which Ella Has a Costume Change

Above ground again, I started walking. I like the city. It’s near impossible to get lost with its even grid of numbered streets and avenues, so I headed north towards the nearest park. And as I walked I became more and more aware of just how awful of an outfit choice I had made. Silk, as it turns out, is not the most breathable material, no matter how thin it is, and when it’s over eighty degrees, wearing a three-quarter length sleeved silk blouse, jeans, and cowboy boots is a spectacularly poor idea.

This is what my shirt looked like:

So I marched myself north, running straight through the university campus, past dogs and their owners, construction sites, and nannies speaking to each other rapidly in foreign languages while the kids in their strollers hugged stuffed animals and blankets. I listened to the determined smacking of my boots against the pavement and caught snippets of people’s conversations, trying to imagine what their stories were. The girl on the cellphone had to be a student. She had a large backpack on her back and was walking too purposefully to be a tourist. Sure enough, I saw her open a university building and walk into the lobby as I passed. One point for Ella.

I began to search for a clothing store to buy a different shirt. I have way too many clothes, but another tee shirt wouldn’t hurt. Something white or black would be nice. They match everything, and I wear all of my black or white shirts to death already. But by the point I had determined what I was going to buy, I was nearly at the park, and turning around to head to the more interesting stores and boutiques would take quite a while, so I settled for the American Eagle.

Walking into the really large chain store in the city is never a pleasant experience. It’s always somewhat chaotic and loud, even when there aren’t loads of people inside. The space is big, there’s music playing, encouraging you to buy more, more, more, and salespeople everywhere with little black headsets. And because it was two p.m. on a Tuesday, it was just me, a Japanese family, a large group of German teenagers, and absolutely no black or white tee shirts. I mean, they had black or white tee shirts with giant eagles and words printed on them, but no nice, plain tee shirts in those colors.

I have a strict rule about clothes that tell everyone where you bought them. It goes like this: Don’t wear it. The only reason why they print the store’s logo on it is so that everyone knows the store where you bought and can guess how much it cost, thereby determining your coolness factor.

So I picked up a grey-blue shirt without any offending eagles, designs, or text and purchased it, ducking into a Wendy’s to change. But I still had hours and hours to kill before the book launch, so I wandered over to the park and sat down to finish The Help.

I’ve been up for eighteen hours now, and I am falling asleep. This will be finished tomorrow.

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