Shopaholic From Mars


Shopping on the internet soothes me. After a long hectic day of mothering, authoring, housekeeping and chauffeuring, I need a low-calorie relaxation tool, and I’ve found online consuming does the trick. Luckily, I don’t actually have to buy anything for the sedation effects to kick in. I just sit back and let my fingers scroll and click through cyber racks of clearance merchandise. Why clearance, you ask, if I’m not actually purchasing anything? Because there has to be a snowball’s chance in Haiti I will actually buy something for this method of Zen to reach fruition. Faux shopping for three hundred dollar shoes is enough to constipate me for a week. Yet, filling my cyber cart full of cocktail dresses, sparkly earrings, driving moccasins and pretty underthings (items I don’t actually wear) for the same three hundred smackers, works as well as a double martini.

Unlike Sophie Kinsella’s heroine, Becky Bloomberg, in her Shopaholic series, I never have to worry about credit card companies coming after me for payment. I get to live the highs without any of the pitfalls; an otherworldly experience making me a kind of shopaholic from Mars.

Fantasy online procurement also allows me to patronize stores I don’t frequent in my current life in rural (esque) Oregon. I can pretend I still live Chicago, New York City or Los Angeles (homes of my past three incarnations). I hit the bi-annual Saks Fifth Avenue sale and make a beeline for handbags, where I peruse designer delights for 70% off. The very most I’ll consider spending is $112.50 and the purse must be over $300 regular price. It also needs to be real leather. “Vegan” leather is just a manipulative, albeit masterful way, of trying to make me feel righteous about carrying vinyl. I have nothing against vinyl, but simply refuse to fake purchase it at that price point.

Don’t get me started on shoes. I spend hours pretending I don’t wear a size 10.5 and that I’m bunion free. I remember the glory days of my twenties, long before the words “middle-aged- mother” became my identity. Back when adjectives like “comfortable” and “orthopedic” needn’t be part of the description. I buy pumps and stilettos like I’m planning on attending star-studded galas instead of stocking up on toilet paper at Costco.

I also like to bogus shop for acreage all over the country. Ranches in Wyoming, log homes in the Adirondacks and snug cabins in South Carolina’s low country have all been in my sites. The only common denominator is that all of these dwellings must reside on enough property for me to indulge my desire for farm animals. My fainting goats, furry sheep and dairy cow cannot be cramped. They must roam free as nature intended, away from the prying eyes of neighbors who might judge me for knitting Christmas sweaters for my chickens.

For some mysterious reason I’m also drawn to motor homes. As a former plus-size model, I spent much of my twenties and thirties in these fancy tiny houses on wheels, when shooting on location. Traditionally, the kitchen is the hair and make-up station and the bedroom in back is wardrobe. I will only consider buying one used and only if both sides bump out for an extra-wide living space AND if there is a spacious potty. Seriously, I’m over six feet tall and refuse to endure a lack of leg room when addressing a call of nature in my make-believe motor home.

Of all the vices I could have, pretend shopping is a pretty tame one. If you don’t count my real addictions (which I purchase by the gross), namely tights and cardigans for my daughters, I’m the best kind of shopaholic there is; the kind who doesn’t suffer anxiety due to an alarming credit card balance. A note to Sophie Kinsella, I think I just named the next book in your series!


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