“I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. . . . Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”This erudite point particularly applies, I imagine, to negative experiences: often unhelpful and likely to drive one insane, we ought to forget them.
- A Study in Scarlet
But forgetting comes with dangers. As those who ignore history are bound to repeat it, so are those of us who ignore our mistakes bound to repeat them.
In my case, the mistake was swimsuit shopping.
I went swimsuit shopping the other day because I hadn’t bought one in awhile and I was going on vacation. I was, on the whole, excited about going - I like shopping and it was the end of the summer, so I knew all the swimsuits would be on sale and I’d get a good deal. Plus, buying a new swimsuit is the technical beginning of vacation and the excuse to check out mentally up until actual departure.
What I realized as soon as I got to the store was that nearly a half-decade of relying on old swimsuits meant I had forgotten how degrading swimsuit shopping is. I can’t buy one pieces because the ratio of my person is somehow different than whoever they make swimsuits for and they never. ever. fit.
So a two-piece it was, which meant that, while everything was half off, everything was also half off the racks: as in lying everywhere on the floor due to some mad rush I had missed or an extremely localized tornado. If I found a cute top, there were simply no matching bottoms. If I found some bottoms, they only had the top in a different color. But I braved through every single rack in a quest to find a good one.
I remembered enough to know that I needed to try on a LOT of swimsuits because most probably wouldn’t work. So I grabbed approximately 40 or so halves of swimsuits and, in defiance of the six-items-per-dressing-room fiat broadcast by a lethargic sign, threw them all on the floor of the dressing room. (That’s a generous word for it; it’s a stall at best.)
|I had barely started at this point.|
And then I remembered the wonder of trying on swimsuits. First, there is the inherent bunchiness of trying on a garment that is pretty much underwear over your existing underwear for sanity reasons. But the real joy of trying on a two-piece swimsuit is the stark reminder of how much I am not the right sizes. Because you can get two different sizes per piece, the suit is just mocking you: “Hey! Society says you should be large on top and small on the bottom, not the other way around. Man, you should stay away from fluorescent lighting!”
It wasn’t helped by the fact that the picked-over remaining swimsuits available in any size approaching mine were... strange. It made me desperate: I willing tried on a suit with rainbow-sherbet colored fringe hanging off the top, telling myself, “Maybe it’s cute on?”
|Yep. This happened.|
I generously reinterpreted what size I was. I tried to tell myself that maybe I didn’t hate ruffles after all. Maybe Jessica Simpson can design a good swimsuit, despite the otherwise serious gaps in her understanding of aquatic life. Maybe I didn’t mind wearing a yellow top with pink bottoms, or one with Minnie Mouse polkadots. Maybe a swimsuit should have glitter.
|I should have known when I saw all of these |
left from the previous occupant.
After flinging them almost all of them on the ground in disgust, I came out of there with two swimsuits: one, indeed, at least nominally designed by our dear Ms. Simpson, and the other one with some baffling straps that are very confusing to tie but look okay once you get there. I hope they work out, because I don't think I'll be able to move this memory out of my brain attic for awhile. And here's hoping they are more durable than my ability to recall how much I hate swimsuit shopping, or else I'm in trouble.