My parents and I have the perfect relationship.
Because they do favors for me all the time and I never do favors for them. It’s just that they never ask. Except last week Papa got all confused about how our relationship works and did ask.
Poor thing, getting on in years.
The problem is that someone gave him a HERMÈS tie. And he didn’t like it.
“Take it back to the store,” he told me. “And then when you’re at the store, call me for further instructions.”
I became filled with dread. It’s like the only reason he had a daughter was so that he could send her to HERMÈS on this errand. If there’s one thing that I can’t stand, it’s self-absorbed parents. Back to me.
“Tell me what you want me to do,” I told him.
“I will reveal it once you are there,” he said.
Obviously this was going to involve some kind of a tie-hiest.
On Monday afternoon, I could procrastinate no longer. I set out for HERMÈS. On the way over, I considered the horrible possibilities of what was in store, no pun intended, for me.
Horror number one, above all horrors was that Papa would want me to return the tie and ask for cash in return. This was unthinkable. I could not imagine having this type of conversation at such a fancy French store on Madison Avenue. I would die of mortification-induced embarrassment.
The second horror, equally potent for different reasons, was that Papa would have me describe every other tie that they had in the store. “This one has sort of squiggly lines,” I would say. “What do you mean, squiggly lines?” he would protest. “You said squiggly lines for the seventh tie. This is the eighteenth. Let’s review them from the top again.”
By the time that I was a block away, I couldn’t take the stress anymore. I called him.
“I’m about to go in,” I announced. “But I need to have instructions.”
Fortunately, Papa took pity on me.
Unfortunately, he thought I was a moron.
“Okay, so you go in and say, ‘My father got tie as gift, but he doesn’t like tie. He wants to exchange.'”
“I know THAT part,” I rolled my eyes.
“So return the unwanted tie and get one in mustard or in the red, with little birds or little animals or testicles with hair.”
* * *
I walked into HERMÈS, whistling a happy tune.
“Bon jour,” I said. “I would like to return this HERMÈS tie, purchased from this HERMÈS store and gifted to my father.”
“Is there a problem with the tie?” the saleswoman asked.
“Well, problem is strong, ha ha, but, see Papa does not like the tie. Papa hates the tie. Papa wants a different tie.”
“Let’s take a look at what we have here,” she said, gingerly taking the package from me and unwrapping the tie, as through preparing it for a thorough physical. I held my breath. Was the tie okay? Was there a tag? How could I not have checked for a tag?
The saleswoman found the tag and squinted at it. She summoned a colleague over. He peered at the tag. They consulted with each other and then he shook his head. I could tell that the diagnosis was not good.
The saleswoman looked at me.
“The good news is that this is a wonderful tie,” she told me. “It is indeed from a HERMÈS store. The problem is that it is from the summer 2008 season. So we cannot accept it.” She folded the tie gently as I tried to process the ramifications.
“Summer of ’08?” I tried. “In other words, vintage?”
“Not vintage,” she corrected me. “Out of season. But still a very good tie.”
She handed it back to me.
I wasn’t ready to give up just yet.
“I don’t understand,” I tried to look despondent (it helped that there was only one more episode of The Bachelor left to get me in the mood). “My Papa doesn’t like this tie. What is he supposed to do with it?” I opened my eyes extra wide, like Elmo, and blinked for emphasis.
She sighed, clearly moved by my and Papa’s plights.
“He could maybe learn to like it? Or give it as a beautiful gift.” She said.
All good ideas. At least she didn’t suggest using it as a noose.
This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link. Also HERMÈS is capitalized because the only way I could think of getting that pretentious thing over the second E was to cut the word out of a site and paste it into my post. It’s almost like stealing.
One year ago ...
- Distracted - 2012